ERIC Number: ED339949
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990
Toward a Developmental Theory of Adolescent Suicide & Depression.
Cole, Wendy J.
A growing body of literature documents the frequency and magnitude of adolescent suicide. Because of the difficulties inherent to the nature of suicide, ascertaining the actual frequency of suicidal completions, attempts, and ideation is extremely difficult. Although there have been many attempts to isolate the correlates and causal factors of suicide, research study results have been inconclusive, and often controversial. Of the many correlational variables in the literature, depression seems most consistently paired with suicidal behavior in adolescents. Although depression has been found to have a relationship to suicide, it has failed to act as an acceptable predictor of suicidal behavior. The Emery Model (1983) postulates a multidimensional approach to the prediction of suicide; it combines a model of adolescent depression by Benson (1979) with the work of developmental theorists Erickson (1959) and Bowlby (1973). Adolescent suicide is seen as involving situational difficulties and developmental forces. Specifically, situational difficulties accompanied by developmental difficulties stimulate or predispose the individual to depression, despair, and self-destructive tendencies. In this way adolescent depression and suicide are seen as a product of the relationship between developmental forces and situational factors. Emery's model also offers an explanation of the different qualitative states which produce parasuicidal and suicidal behaviors, and parallels the work of Beck, et al. (1975; 1985) in pinpointing "hopelessness" or "despair" as the objective state which precedes successful or fully intentioned suicidal attempts. (LLL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A