- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Harvard University Press; 1 edition (January 15, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674019016
- ISBN-13: 978-0674019010
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #431,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Why People Die by Suicide 1st Edition
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Joiner provides a fascinating contribution to psychological literature that is certain to join the ranks of Émile Durkheim's Suicide and Karl Menninger's Man Against Himself. Not only has Joiner established professional prominence in suicidology, but he also has a profound personal relationship with the subject: his own father died by suicide. Drawing on the pain of this experience as well as on clinical and epidemiological evidence, Joiner has managed to conduct significant research into why some people die by suicide, while others survive their attempts at self-annihilation. His persuasive thesis is that practice, mental and physical, is what separates the completers from the attempters. In particular, those who have become desensitized to physical pain are most likely to orchestrate their own deaths successfully. Joiner also identifies perceived burdensomeness, little sense of belonging, genetics, neurobiology, and mental disorders as contributors to suicidality and completion. (Lynne F. Maxwell Library Journal 2005-12-01)
Taking one's own life goes against one of our strongest urges--the instinct of self-preservation. The deterioration of this instinct, says Thomas Joiner, should be regarded as a symptom of disease...His theory, outlined in Why People Die by Suicide is that it happens when severely depressed people acquire fearlessness. How do people become fearless? Through practice and learning, he says. This explains the bouts of self-harm or failed suicide attempts that are not cries for help so much as rehearsals for a deadly finale. (Anjana Ahuja The Times 2006-01-30)
[Joiner's] theory is the most comprehensive yet put forth to explain why some people end their lives. Joiner offers a dizzying array of studies to shore up his argument, and some of the evidence he offers is quite novel for the lay reader. (Philip Connors Newsday 2006-02-05)
Mr. Joiner's book is a useful guide to suicidal behavior...Mr. Joiner draws on many scientific fields--genetics, neuroscience, psychiatry, evolutionary psychology--all of which, he thinks, have something to offer the study of suicide. The major lesson of his book is the necessity of keeping the ability to commit suicide from coinciding with the desire for death...His book is a practical study, full of up-to-the-minute research. (Thomas Meaney Wall Street Journal 2006-04-20)
It is the synergy and tension between Joiner's dual identity as suicide survivor and academic that imbues this book with both its power and a certain logical grandiosity...Joiner is to be commended for a powerful effort to integrate science and personal tragedy. In an easily digestible style, he reviews the breadth of modern suicide scholarship--biological, psychological, and social, and presents his integration clearly and forcefully. (J. Michael Bostwick Boston Globe 2006-07-12)
The Florida State University psych professor, who grew up here and endured the suicide of his father not far from their Atlanta home, asserts that suicide is not simply an act but a process. Joiner describes how a person works up to suicide by overcoming the fear of death and the instinct for self-preservation. In accessible, somber prose, he also explains the conditions under which a person becomes suicidal. (Lawrence Wright Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Many researchers and clinicians have tried to explain why people commit suicide. The majority of studies that have been conducted to date have examined correlates and risk factors for suicidal behavior. However, many of these risk factors are found throughout the general population, and the vast majority of people do not engage in suicidal behavior. Dr. Joiner's theory is one of the first that integrates many of these risk factors into an explanatory model. His model makes sense both intuitively and empirically. What makes Dr. Joiner's theory particularly credible is the research that he and his students have done to support his model. Additionally, he is able to use his theory to explain such diverse behaviors as the suicide attacks on 9/11 and Kurt Cobain's suicide. What makes this book particularly interesting is that it begins with a prologue detailing Dr. Joiner's personal account of loss by suicide...This book is a must-read for clinicians and researchers who are involved with suicidal patients. Dr. Joiner's model highlights the acute risk factors for serious suicidal behavior thus providing tangible targets for assessment and treatment. Additionally this volume is an excellent resource for family members who have lost a loved one to suicide...Based upon the book's combination of sound scientific research with thoughtful personal reflections and examples it is given a strong recommendation. (Elizabeth L. Jeglic Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Book Reviews)
The change in the way I now look at my dad's death comes because of [this] compelling book. (Steve Martin The Times 2007-06-08)
In a book both personal and scientific, Thomas Joiner gives us the deepest understanding of suicide that has yet been written. He reminds us that to go on living we need to feel that we belong to someone and that we are effective. But he adds a surprising third factor--we must not break down our fear of death. Joiner offers wise guidance not only to professionals, but to those who must live on after this kind of death in the family. (Pauline Boss, author of Ambiguous Loss)
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Top Customer Reviews
Look on youtube for "Why Do People Die By Suicide" - Lecture by Thomas E. Joiner, Ph.D" it is a 51 minute watch well worth watching it even after reading the book or other way round too.
Dr. Joiner's second book that follows this one challenges the urban legends around suicide and provides an important message to society. We all have a responsibility to listen and pay close attention because we can offer help to those individuals contemplating suicide. Thank you, Dr. Joiner, for writing your books and for sharing your own personal story. Society has a long way to go to understand suicide; your books are helping us move forward in that regard.
Gained insight into emotional behavior of self. Perhaps a different look at future options.