Suicide Research Papers
Below are some elements that you may want to include in your research paper on suicide. Paper Masters will custom write your a research paper on the psychological aspects of suicide or the sociological research available. Some possible topics on suicide that make for interesting college level projects are as follows:
- Suicide rates over the last Century
- Suicide and adolescence
- Suicide and depression
- Suicide and the elderly
Webster’s dictionary defines the word as “the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally.” The Centers for Disease Control has shown that suicide took the lives of approximately 40,000 Americans last year, making it the eleventh leading cause of death for all Americans and the second leading cause of death for Americans aged 25-34. And millions more attempt suicide each year. What human conditions could possibly influence someone to end their own life?
Causes of Suicide
Current psychological research has focused on determining the underlying causes of suicidal behavior and the effects of treatment for those conditions. According to The National Institute of Mental Health, research has shown that the majority of suicide victims and death by suicide had been diagnosed with some form of depressive illness. Depressive illness is a biological condition related to chemical imbalances in the brain and can manifest itself in many ways. Symptoms of depression can include persistent sadness or moodiness; the loss of interest in normal pleasures or activities; marked changes in weight or appetite; feelings of worthlessness or misplaced guilt and a fixation on death or thoughts of suicide.
The leading cause of death for children between the ages of fifteen and nineteen is suicide. This indicates a rate of eleven youths out of every 1,100,000. Unfortunately, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that this rate has increased almost thirty percent. “Although suicide itself remains relatively low in frequency, research has shown that suicidal behaviors, such as suicide attempts and suicide ideation, are relatively common in adolescents”.
Certain types of psychiatric disorders that impact children also appear to increase the likelihood of suicidal behavior. These difficulties include anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, and conduct disorders. The DSM-IV states that “in adolescents, Major Depressive Episodes are frequently associated with Disruptive Behavior Disorders, Attention-Deficit Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Substance-Related Disorders, and Eating Disorders”. The vast majority of adolescents who successfully commit suicide qualify for diagnosis as having some type of psychiatric disorder.
The most likely disorder that may result in suicide for a high school student is depression. To receive the diagnosis of Major Depressive Episode, the individual must exhibit a minimum of five of the following symptoms:
- consistent depressed or irritable mood;
- consistent lack of interest in activities that are usually considered enjoyable;
- unexplained weight loss or gain;
- sleep disturbances, most commonly hypersomnia for adolescents;
- psychomotor retardation generally in adolescents;
- feelings of guilt or worthlessness; low self-esteem;
- decreased ability to concentrate; or
- suicide ideation or attempt
Delusions may also be present but are not considered to be one of the most prominent symptoms.
If there is one defining element of American life in the early 21st century, it is the fact of being constantly confronted with the imagery of the news and entertainment media. To a large degree, our society revolves around the media image, and it exerts a huge influence on every aspect of American life.
Although there are some scenarios when media influence could conceivably have a positive impact, there are also many circumstances in which the insertion of unremitting media imagery into our everyday lives can have deleterious consequences. Researchers in many fields have begun to consider the way that the media, and in particular, television, influences people’s behavior, especially within populations that are, for one reason or another, particularly sensitive to suggestion.
The current investigation will seek to determine what influence, if any, that the portrayal of suicide or attempted suicide on televised drama series has upon individuals who are experiencing suicidal thoughts or who have displayed suicidal tendencies in the past.
Psychological Studies and Suicide
Psychological studies have defined several forms of depressive illness. Unipolar depression is diagnosed in the individual who experiences, in recurring episodes, five or more symptoms within a two week period. Individuals with bi-polar or manic depression typically experience fluctuating episodes of depression and mania(elevated moods or irritability). Dysthymia, a less severe but more chronic form of depression, is diagnosed in individuals who experience lengthy episodes of depression, often lasting two years or longer.
Teen suicide is particularly troubling to parents, educators and the medical profession as it is a leading cause of death. Peer pressure, divorce, academic pressure and depression are among the leading reasons that teens consider taking their own lives.Methods of suicide vary between age and gender with suffocation by hanging being the most common. There is evidence that exposure to suicide not only increases the risk of taking ones life but also the method.
Popular Textbooks for classes that are studying suicide:
- Comprehensive Textbook of Suicidology by Ronald W. Maris, Alan L. Berman and Morton M. Silverman
- Comprehending Suicide: Landmarks in 20th-Century Suicidology.