Suicide among elders: a Durkheimian proposal

Main Article Content

Stephen M. Marson
Rasby Marlene Powell

Abstract

This article proposes a model based on Durkheim’s suicide framework as a tool for enhancing gerontological practitioner’s ability to detect and prevent suicide among elders. Although many suicide detection tools are based on psychological factors, this model focuses on identifying environmental stressors that may increase psychological stressors. To illustrate our concepts, we use case files from one author’s experience as a practicing social worker in nursing homes. We offer this model not as a replacement for psychological detection tools, but as an additional tool for practitioners who work to identify and prevent suicides among the elderly.

Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Article Details

Section
Articles

References

AAS (American Association of Suicidology) (2011) Elderly Suicide Fact Sheet. Available on www.suicidology.org. (Accessed: August 12, 2011).


Aliverdinia, A. & Pridemore, W. (2009). Violence against women in Iran: A partial test of Durkheim in an Islamic Republic. Violence Against Women 15(3): 307–320. [Read this article]


Baller, R. D., Levchak, P. & Schultz, M. (2010). The great transformation and suicide: Local and long-lasting effects of 1930 bank suspensions. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 40(6): 574–586. [Read this article] PMid:21198326


Benjamin, K., Edwards, N. & Caswell, W. (2009). Factors influencing the physical activity of older adultus in long-term care: Administrators’ perspective. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity 17(2): 181–195. PMid:19451667


Bennett, A. T. & Collins, K. A. (2001). Elderly suicide: A 10-year retrospective study. American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology 22(2): 169–172. [Read this article] PMid:11394752


Bousfield, C. (2010). Contact, anxiety, and young people’s attitudes and behavioral intentions towards the elderly. Educational Gerontology 36(6): 451–466. [Read this article]


Brown, S. & Day, A. (2008). The role of loneliness in suicide prevention and management. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 47(4): 433–449. [Read this article]


Cienkowski, K. M. (2003). Auditory aging: A look at hearing loss in older adults. Hearing Loss: the Journal of Self Help for Hard of Hearing People 24(1): 12–15.


Classen, T.J. & Dunn, R. A. (2010). The politics of hope and despair: The effect of presidential election outcomes on suicide rates. Social Science Quarterly 91(3): 593–612. [Read this article] PMid:20645463    PMCid:2912290


Cohen-Mansfield, J., Werner, P., Weinfield, M., Braun, J., Kraft, G., Gerber, B. & Willens, S. (1995). Autonomy for nursing home residents: The role of regulations. Behavioral Sciences and the Law 13(4): 415–423. [Read this article]


Davenport, J. A. & Davenport, J. (1987). Native American suicide: A Durkheiman analysis. Social Casework 68(2): 533–539.


De Leo, D. & Spathonis, K. (2004). Suicide and suicidal behaviour in latelife (1st edition). In D. De Leo, U. Bille-Brahe & A. Kerkhof (eds.), Suicidal Behaviour: Theories and Research Findings (pp. 253–286). Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe & Huber.


Draper, B., Brodaty, H., Low, L., Richards, V., Paton, H. & Lie, D. (2002). Self-destructive behaviors in nursing home residents. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 50(2): 354–358. [Read this article] PMid:12028220


Durkheim, E. (1897). Suicide: A Study of Sociology. New York: Free Press.


Gage, H., Knibb, W., Evans, J., Williams, P. & Rickman, N. (2009). Why are some care homes better than others? An empirical study of the factors associated with quality of care for older people in residential homes in Surrey, England. Health and Social Care in the Community 17(6): 599–609. [Read this article]


Goodson, J., Wooseung, J. & Rantz, M. (2008). Nursing home care quality: Insights from a Bayesian network approach. Gerontologist 48(3): 338–348. [Read this article] PMid:18591359


Hawgood, J., Spathonis, K. & De Leo, D. (2004). Physical illness and suicidal behaviour (1st edition). In D. De Leo, U. Bille-Brahe & A. Kerkhof (eds.), Suicidal Behaviour: Theories and Research Findings (pp. 139–163). Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe & Huber.


Helmut, T. (2010). Violent crime (and suicide) in imperial Germany, 1883–1902: Quantitative analyses and a Durkheimian interpretation. International Criminal Justice Review 20(1): 5–34. [Read this article]


Hooyman, N. & Kiyak, H. (2011). Social Gerontology: A Multidisciplinary Perspective. Boston: Prentice-Hall.


Joiner, T. (2005). Why People Die by Suicide. Cambridge, MA: University of Harvard Press. Kampfe, C. M. & Smith, S. M. (1999). Late-onset hearing loss: Strategies for effective counseling. Adultspan Journal 1(1): 32–48.


Lee, R. H., Bott, M. J., Gajewski, B. & Taunton, R. L. (2009). Modeling efficiency at the process level: An examination of the care planning process in nursing homes. Health Services Research 44(1): 15–31. [Read this article] PMid:18783455    PMCid:2669624


Lee, J., Kim, H. & Tanenbaum, S. (2006). Medicaid and family wealth transfer. Gerontologist 46(1): 6–13.


Leighton, A.H. & Hughes, C. C. (1955). Notes on Eskimo Patterns of Suicide. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 11(4): 327–338.


Lorand, A. (1912). Old Age Deferred. Philadelphia, PA: F.A, Davis. Maimon, D., Browning, C. R. & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2010). Collective efficacy, family attachment, and urban adolescent suicide attempts. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 51(3): 307–324.


Marson, S. M. (2009). What do you say when a resident loses control? The Internet Journal of Geriatrics and Gerontology 4(2) Available on http://www.ispub.com/journal/the_internet_journal_of_geriatrics_and_ gerontology/volume_4_number_2_55/article/what-do-you-say-when-aresident-loses-control.html (Accessed: September 16, 2011).


Marson, S. M. & Della Fave, L. R. (1994). A Marxian review of gerontological literature. The Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare 21(3): 109–124.


McInnis-Dittrich, K. (2009). Social Work with Older Adults: A Biopsychosocial Approach to Assessment and Intervention. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Mitka, M. (2009). Worst nursing home. JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association 302(18): 1960.


Mulder, J. D. (1987). Avoiding gerontophobia. Geriatrics 43(3): 96–97.


Nezu, A. M., Ronan, G. F., Meadows, E. A. & McClure, K. S. (2000). Practitioner’s Guide to Empirically Based Measures of Depression. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.


NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health). (2011). Older Adults: Depression and Suicide Facts. Fact sheet. Available on http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/older-adults-depression-and-suicide-facts-factsheet/index.shtml (Accessed: October 15, 2011).


Nolan, P. D. & Triplett, J. (2010). Sociology’s suicide: A forensic autopsy? American Sociologist 41(3): 292–305. [Read this article]


Patten, P. C. & Piercy, F. P. (1989). Dysfunctional isolation in the elderly: Increasing marital and family closeness through improved communication. Contemporary Family Therapy 11(2): 131–147. [Read this article]


Pedahzur, A. & Perliger, A. (2003). Altruism and fatalism: The characteristics of palestinian suicide terrorists. Deviant Behavior: An Interdisciplinary Journal 24(3): 405–423.


Ploeg, J., Campbell, L., Denton, M. & Joshi, A. (2004). Helping to build and rebuild secure lives and futures: Financial transfers from parents to adult children and grandchildren. Canadian Journal on Aging 21(S1): S131–S143.


Pridemore, W., Chamlin, M. & Cochran, J. (2007). An interrupted timeseries analysis of Durkheim’s social deregulation thesis: The case of Russian federation. Justice Quarterly 24(2): 271–290.


Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster.


Quadagno, J. (2011). Aging and The Life Course: An Introduction to Social Gerontology. New York: McGraw-Hill.


Robinson, D., Renshaw, C., Okello, C., Moller, H. & Davies, E. (2009). Suicide in cancer patients in Southeast England from 1996 to 2005: A population based study. British Journal of Cancer 101(1): 198–201. [Read this article] PMid:19471277    PMCid:2713698


Robinson, J. P., Shaver, P. R. & Wrightsman, L. S. (1991). Measures of Personality and Social Psychological Attitudes. Volume I, San Diego, CA: Academic Press.


Sarkisian, N. & Gerstel, N. (2008). Till marriage do us part: Adult children’s relationships with their parents. Journal of Marriage and Family 14(4): 360–376. [Read this article]


Stuen, C. (2006). Older adults with age-related sensory loss (1st edition). In B. Berkman & S. D’Ambruoso (eds.), Handbook of Social Work in Health and Aging (pp. 65–67). Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Read this article]


Suominen, K., Henriksson, M., Isometsa, E., Conwell, Y., Heila, H. & Lonnqvist, J. (2003). Nursing home suicides_a psychological autopsy study. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 18(12): 1095–1101. [Read this article] PMid:14677141


Thompson, P. (1999). The role of grandparents when parents part or die: Some reflections on the mythical decline of the extended family. Ageing and Society 19(4): 471–503. [Read this article]


Widrick, R. M. (2010). Age-related stigma and the golden section hypothesis. Aging and Mental Health 14(4): 375–385. [Read this article]


Wilson, K. G., Curran, D. & McPherson, C. J. (2005). A burden to others: A common source of stress for the terminally ill. Cognitive Behavior Therapy 14(2): 115–123. [Read this article] PMid:15986788