January 24, 1977

Suicidology: Contemporary Developments

Author Affiliations

Misericordia Hospital Medical Center Bronx, NY


edited by Edwin S. Shneidman, 571 pp, with illus, $27.50, New York, Grune & Stratton, 1976.

JAMA. 1977;237(4):388. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270310074018

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The field of suicidology is relatively new as an organized discipline, dating back to the 1960s, although efforts at suicide prevention on a community and voluntary basis are to be found in the 19th century. To provide a perspective on changes in the field, the volume presents a relevant quotation from earlier important professional or artistic work, to introduce current commentary on some aspect of suicidology. For example, we are given the article on "Suicide" from the Encyclopaedia Britannica of 1910 to 1911 along with that of 1973.

The most interesting contemporary development concerns the efforts at suicide prevention, so much in the forefront in the past decade or more. Detailed statistics of suicide in the United States make it evident that there has been no appreciable reduction in the incidence, despite considerable expenditure of effort and money. By contrast, the results in Great Britain from the efforts of the