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Theory, Practice and Investigation

August 2005 | 192 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Suicide is an ageless concern that has been with us as long as man has existed. Forbidden by all religions, suicide has nonetheless become such a practical problem that it is now an everyday concern, resulting in more annual deaths than homicide. Suicide must be seen as a societal and personal problem—it is a complex act with no simple explanation. The motivation is multifaceted, often not understood by the family or by other survivors.   

Suicide: Theory, Practice and Investigation is the only text available in paperback form that offers an accessible overview of suicide in the United States. Written by Ronald M. Holmes and Stephen T. Holmes, two of the foremost authors of murder and violent crime books in the world, this book examines the social problem and criminal justice concerns of suicide from unique perspectives. The authors discuss the various forms of suicide and analyze the latest data on regional differences and how gender, marital status, occupation, health, drug use, and religion all influence the practice of suicide.  

Key Features:

  • Analyzes suicide letters to provide students with unique perspectives not found in other books
  • Covers investigative techniques that will be of interest to professionals and students alike
  • Includes carefully selected photos to explicate the material covered
  • Categorizes suicide into different types including anomic, egoistic, altruistic, and fatalistic to distinguish the various reasons for which people have taken their own lives
  • Integrates notes within the chapters to show the state of mind for those who commit suicide
  • Explores learnings from suicidal behavior to help readers recognize how better to prevent the practice  

Suicide is designed for undergraduate and graduate courses in departments of Criminology, Criminal Justice, Psychology, and Forensic Science. In addition, it can also be used for a variety of other courses, including Psychopathology, Sociology of Deviance, Abnormal Psychology, and Violent Crimes. This book will also be of interest to anyone looking for a clear understanding of the extent of suicide in the United States.

Chapter 1 Suicide

General Conclusions


Chapter 2 History and Suicide

Selected Historical Analysis of Suicide

Christianity and Suicide

Emerging Ideas on Suicide



Chapter 3 Theories and Types of Suicide

Emile Durkheim

Durkheim's Suicide Typology

Types of Suicide

Selected Theories of Suicide



Chapter 4 Youth and Suicide

Statisctics and Suicide

Family Stability and Suicide

Mental Health and Youth Suicide

Youth Suicide and Correctional Facilities

Youth Suicide and Substance Abuse

Previous Attempts of Suicide and Completed Suicides

Youth Suicide and Sexual/Physical Abuse



Chapter 5 Suicide and the Elderly

Suicide and the Elderly

Suicide of the Elderly and Statistics

Suicide by the Elderly and Psychological Health



Chapter 6 Suicide and Violence Among Inmates

Violence Among Inmates

Battered Partners, Violence and Partner Suicide

Family Violence and Suicide Among Adolescents



Chapter 7 Suicide Letters: A Typology and Analysis

Suicide Notes and Letters

Categories of Suicide Notes and Letters

Implications of Suicide Notes for Suicide Investigation



Chapter 8 Selected Atypical Studies

Physician-Assisted Suicide

The Patient in Physician-Assisted Suicide

Cults and Mass Suicide



Chapter 9 Suicide Investigation
Suicide Investigation




Self-Inflicted Knife Wounds

Self-Inflicted Gun Shot Wounds



Pedestrian Traffic Suicides

Intentional Traffic Suicides

Railroad Accidents



Chapter 10 Depression, Drugs, Alcohol and Suicide

Suicide: The Role of Depression, Alcohol, and Drugs



Chapter 11 Suicide and the Future

What We Have Learned

How To Get Better

Organizations For Help




Ronald Holmes and Stephen Holmes offer a unique text aimed primarily at criminal justice undergraduates, though other behavioral science students will find this work a helpful reference text, too. . . . What makes this work distinctive is its forensic science overlay, as the authors offer detailed coverage on suicide notes and methods.

W. Feigelman
Nassau Community College

Suicide rates are on the increase, online courses are availabke to raise wawareness, this book explains in detail how to react, deal and attend to people who are suicidal

Miss Sam Ford
Psychology, Southend Adult Community College
January 29, 2020

A fascinating read, but perhaps not as comprehasnsive as needed for my course

Mr Armin Luthi
Fac of Health & Social Care Sciences, Kingston University
May 29, 2015

Very helpful for students wanting a depth understanding - but not much for application of concepts in counselling and psychotherapy practice.

Dr Sarah Taylor
Counselling & Psychotherapy with Children and Young People , Northern Guild of Psychotherapy
October 25, 2014

This book has been very useful in understanding the thought and behaviour processes behind suicide. A really interesting read. The learners found it very insightful and interesting.

Ms Emma Parker
Access To Health, Birmingham Metropolitan College
October 9, 2013

A very unique text which will enable students studying criminal psychology to explore the complexities of suicide. Presented in a student friendly and comprehensive format.

Ms Jen Phipps
Law and Criminology, University of Aberystwyth
August 31, 2010
Key features
  • Only brief overview of suicide available in paperback form.
  • Written with a general readership in mind.
  • Analysis of suicide letters provides a unique perspective.
  • Investigative techniques will be of interest to professionals and students alike.
  • Carefully selected photos enhance the text presentations.
  • Representative notes enhance the chapters to show state of mind for those who commit suicide.

Sage College Publishing

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Go To College Site

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