Suicide and Self-Damaging Behavior

Suicide and Self-Damaging Behavior

A Sociobiological Perspective

1st Edition - January 28, 1981

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  • Author: Denys deCatanzaro
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483274010

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Suicide and Self-Damaging Behavior: A Sociobiological Perspective reviews the status of suicide and other exceptions to the prevailing regularities of behavior. This book discusses the apparent anomaly of self-destructive behavior; current incidence of suicide and self-injury; self-destructiveness in other species; and biological fitness and social ecology of suicide. The pro-suicidal gene expression and natural selection; death concept; breakdown of other life-preserving factors with coping failure; and selection processes and altruism are also elaborated. This text likewise covers the chronic self-abuse, risk taking, and self-injurious or self-mutilative behavior. This publication is a good source for anthropologists, psychologists, sociologists, and social scientists concerned with self-destructive behavior.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

    1. The Apparent Anomaly of Self-Destructive Behavior

    Assumptions about the Nature of Adaptive Behavior

    Assumptions about Innate Determination versus Learning, and the Influence of Natural Selection

    The Problem of Self-Destructiveness

    A Précis of the Arguments

    2. The Current Incidence of Suicide and Self-Injury


    Parasuicide or Attempted Suicide

    Chronic Suicide and Risk Taking

    Self-Injurious or Self-Mutilative Behavior


    3. Historical and Cross-Cultural Perspective

    The History of Suicide

    Suicide in Primitive Cultures

    Modern Ethnic, Racial, and Cultural Differences


    4. Self-Destructiveness in Other Species

    "Suicide" among Social Insects

    Migration, Emigration, and Population Dispersion

    Kin Selection and Parental Investment

    Self-Injury in Captivity and Experimental Conditions

    A Laboratory "Suicide Paradigm"

    The "Suicide-Death" Phenomenon

    Other Instances


    5. Biological Fitness and the Social Ecology of Suicide

    Proximate Motivation of Suicide

    Suicide in Childhood

    Suicide in Adolescence and Early Adulthood

    Age and Reproductive Status in Adult Suicide

    Other Trends in Adult Suicide

    Summary and Interpretation

    6. Cultural Evolution and Suicide

    Technology and the Origin of Suicide

    Transitions in Methods and Technology

    Cognition and Suicide

    The Death Concept

    Imitation and Vicarious Learning

    Summary and Conclusions

    7. Stress, Pathology, and Suicide

    Maladaptive States and Inheritance

    Environmental Stressors, Gene Expression, and Maladaptiveness

    Suicide and Psychopathology

    Rate of Adaptation to Harsh and Novel Environmental Contingencies

    Pathogenic Conditions, Culture, and the Social Ecology of Suicide

    8. Coping Failure, Senescence, Gene Expression, and Suicide

    Prosuicidal Gene Expression and Natural Selection

    The Medawar-Williams Hypothesis, Senescence, and Death

    Breakdown of Other Life-Preserving Factors with Coping Failure

    Other Facets of Death and Senescence

    Genetics and Suicide

    Other Indirect Evidence of Genetic Involvement

    Reconciling Gene-Expression and Cultural-Learning Involvement in Suicide

    9. Altruism and Suicide

    Selection Processes and Altruism

    Gene Sharing among Individuals

    Relative Strengths of Different Orders of Selection

    Kin Selection and Human Suicide

    Group Benefit and Human Suicide

    Aging, Reproductive Status, and Altruism

    Modern Conditions and Exceptional or Aberrant Cases


    10. Suicide, Physiology, and Behavioral Predispositions

    The Euphoria-Dysphoria Dimension

    Brain Reinforcement or Reward Mechanisms

    Stress, Hormones, and Neurochemistry

    Monoamines and Suicide

    Physiological Pain Mechanisms and Suicide


    11. Ethics and Suicide

    Ethics as Modulators of Suicide Frequency

    Ethics of Suicide

    12. Limitations and Qualifications

    Suicide and Genetics

    Exceptional Cases

    Life Out of Context

    Limits on the Predictive Nature of the Hypotheses

    The Frequency of Suicide

    Biases in Statistics on Suicide

    Is Suicide a Unitary Phenomenon?

    The Species Generality of the Phenomenon

    Cognition, Learning, and Culture Revisited

    13. Suicide: A Synthesis

    The State of Modern Suicidology

    Imperfections in Biological Adaptation

    Coping Strategies and Life Events

    Coping Failure and Suicide

    Mediation of Motivational Changes Accompanying Coping Failure

    14. Parasuicide and Suicide

    Definitions of Parasuicide and Biases in Data

    Social Ecology of Parasuicide

    Followup Studies of Parasuicides

    Lethality of the Suicide Attempt


    15. Chronic Self-Abuse, Risk Taking, and Other Self-Damaging Behavior

    Chronic Self-Abuse

    Risk Taking

    Other Self-Damaging Behavioral Patterns

    Summary and Conclusions

    16. Self-Injurious or Self-Mutilative Behavior

    The Role of Learning

    Physiological Malformation and Damage

    Abnormalities in Environment

    Learning Revisited

    Relationship to Adaptation

    17. Toward an Expansion of Research Paradigms

    Self-Damaging Behavior: A Supersynthesis

    Critical Issues for Research

    Final Statement


    Author Index

    Subject Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 256
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1981
  • Published: January 28, 1981
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483274010

About the Author

Denys deCatanzaro

About the Editor

David T. Lykken

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