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The causes of suicide especially in males will try to be explained by using the theories of Emile Durkheim and numerous other ideas by familiar sociologists Modern approaches to the study of suicide are preoccupied by the idea of risk factors but it is argued that this approach does little to advance the understandings of suicide rates Durkheim provided a realist theory By contrast modern approaches to the study of suicide which talk of risk factors Bluementhal Kupfer 1990 Charlton 1993 Davison Linnoila 1991 do not provide a theory at all Risk theory has become the dominant framework within which approaches to the study of suicide are currently framed but it offers little insights into the phenomena Durkheim however knew about altruistic suicide deriving from over-integration Durkheim 1952 p 171 He offers a theory that might account for it Risk theory presents us with lists of pre-existing conditions which provide circumstances in which suicides are more likely to occur Suicide rates for men and women in Canada followed similar trends throughout much of this century until the early 1970s when they diverged Rates reduced during both the First and Second World Wars rose during the depression of the nineteen thirties and rose again unsteadily with post war economic growth to a peak in the nineteen sixties World Health Statistics Annual All these fluctuations are as Durkheim could have predicted The significant resulting trend has been the gender divergence with young male suicide rates climbing steadily since that time and womens declining Overall rates show that suicide is currently five times as common in men as in women in Canada World Health Statistics Annual 1993 and 1994 1994 and 1995 Given that the suicide rates among young men in Canada and the US have risen disturbingly in recent years the question that is being asked is why In both countries it seems as if there is a cohort
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