Suicide: a 15-year review of the sociological literature. Part I: cultural and economic factors

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2000 Summer;30(2):145-62.


Cultural and economic patterns from 130 sociological works on suicide from 1981 to 1995 are reviewed in this article. The traditional Durkheimian perspective on suicide was often questioned by research on the impact of the mass media, alcohol, class, modernization, religion, and politics. Major theoretical developments included the application of differential identification theory to Phillips's model of copycat suicide, the application of criminology's opportunity theory to suicide, and new explanations for the link between alcohol and the social suicide rate. Explanations are reviewed for the major new suicide trend: after half a century of convergence, male and female suicide rates are diverging. Finally, the review notes patterns of continued stability in suicide research findings in areas such as racial differences and economic strain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Humans
  • Population Dynamics*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sociology
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Suicide / trends*
  • United States / epidemiology