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January 1956

La Tentative de suicide

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1956;75(1):114. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1956.02330190130019

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In his introduction, the author theorizes about the definition "suicide attempt" and considers the act as such only if it is conscious, and willful, aiming toward self-destruction as a means to a goal, and the person survives the atempt. This excludes the suicide attempt of the schizophrenic and of those in a state of intoxication or confusion. He accepts Esquirol's claim that every normal person at some time in his life—while on a bridge or precipice—has had an urge to kill himself.

He criticizes the statistical approach that takes into consideration only the age, sex, matrimonial status, month of the year, economic background, and other external factors, but ignores the motivation. Such statistics are particularly misleading when unsuccessful and successful attempts are put together. Of course, only in suicidal failures can one interview the attemptee and discover the dynamics of the urge.

In evaluation of the literature on suicide attempts

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