Suicide is a controversial phenomenon that people of different cultures and even of different epochs have had difficulty naming. It used to be an enduring theme of many medical, psychological, philosophical, and moralistic discussions. It is a paradoxical act of ultimate self-destruction, a flight from life to death. To commit suicide is to overcome the fear of personal death and to make a step into nothingness. Such a desperately brave deed requires an abandonment of one's sense of immortality, which we all have, a change of values and worldviews. But if one's suicide attempt proves unsuccessful, the question becomes how to explain to oneself and others one's recent act of self-violence. To discover these explanations, we conducted a study of 319 people, ranging in age from 18 to 25; they were all either students (n = 156) or patients in an emergency toxicology ward (people who had attempted to poison themselves, n = 163). This article summarizes theories of suicidal behavior and of the fear of death together with the ideas of cultural anthropologist E. Becker on these matters and puts suicide into the terror-management perspective. The suicidal act is viewed as a mortality salience, and the hypothesis is that people who deny their recent suicide attempt (n = 33) and who have one (n = 95) or several (n = 35) suicide attempts in their personal history exhibit different terror-management patterns in comparison with each other and with the control group. They fall back on different resources with various degrees of effectiveness. Implications of these results for understanding suicidal and postsuicidal behavior are discussed and suggestions for rehabilitation are made.
terror management, mortality salience, fear of death, suicide attempt, causa sui project, hardiness.
Nature of Individual Difference in Liability to Depression in Russian Adolescents.
The Influence of genetic and environmental factors on liability to depression in
Russian teenage sample was investigated. 196 twin pairs aged 13 to 17 (M=15,2)
from Moscow, Izhevsk and Bishkek took part in the survey. We have found out that
genetic factors had an effect on individual difference in depressiveness among
Russian teenagers: more than 50% of variance was explained by additive genetic
factors which correspond to international results. The biggest genetic influence
was obtained for such scales as negative emotions, negative self esteem and externalization
which are the most replicable factor scales in CDI structure worldwide.