Could "how-to-commit suicide" books prevent suicide?

Lester, David ; Schaller, Sylvia

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Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 2000
The title of a journal, publication series: Crisis
Volume: 21
Issue number: 3
Page range: 109-110
Place of publication: Seattle [u.a.]
Publishing house: Hogrefe & Huber
ISSN: 0227-5910 , 2151-2396
Publication language: English
Institution: Außerfakultäre Einrichtungen > Otto-Selz-Institut - Psychologische Ambulanz
Außerfakultäre Einrichtungen > Otto-Selz-Institut für Angewandte Psychologie (OSI)
Subject: 150 Psychology
Subject headings (SWD): Selbstmord
Abstract: In the last decade, several books have appeared with detailed instructions on how to commit suicide. In some nations, there has been a movement to ban the publication of these books, while in other nations the books have been published. In the United States, however, although such books have been published, there have been "warnings" given noting that these books have been found by the side of actual suicides, implying that these suicides may have been actually precipitated by the purchase of such books. These reactions can be explained by two opposing theories. Imitation theory argues that describing and publicizing suicides and the methods used for suicide increases the likelihood of similar acts--the Werther effect, so-named after Goethe's often-imitated hero. In contrast, the alternative explanation is based on reactance theory and has so far not been applied to suicidal behavior. Psychological reactance theory is applied to situations in which the freedom to act on one's own will or to choose between alternative possibilities to act is threatened or lost. This motivates people to restore that freedom. They find the forbidden or restricted option more attractive than they did before, and they expend extra effort to obtain what was forbidden or restricted. Although no empirical research regarding reactance theory and suicidal behavior has appeared yet, there are several anecdotal findings which possibly support the application of these hypotheses to suicidal behavior. Talking to people who have purchased books such as Final Exit reveals that many of them were not suicidal when they purchased it and are not suicidal now. They purchased it simply to have it available if they ever are in such dire straits (typically envisioned as a painful terminal illness) that they wish to end their life. The fact that the book is on the shelf--should they need it--may function much like Nietzsche's contemplation of suicide. It may help people cope with their current life more effectively. On the other hand, if we ban such books, then we may arouse reactance, that is, make suicide a more attractive option because it is forbidden. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Dieser Eintrag ist Teil der Universitätsbibliographie.

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