Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Suicide in apparently well-functioning young men

Date:
February 26, 2014
Source:
Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Summary:
Suicide among young men is a major public health concern in many countries, despite great efforts to find effective prevention strategies. By interviewing close relatives and friends of apparently well-functioning young men who unexpectedly took their own life, Norwegian researchers found there had been no signs of serious mental disorder. This contradicts previous research that suggests that depression or other mental illness is an important risk factor in suicide.

Suicide among young men is a major public health concern in many countries, despite great efforts to find effective prevention strategies. By interviewing close relatives and friends of apparently well-functioning young men who unexpectedly took their own life, Norwegian researchers found there had been no signs of serious mental disorder. This contradicts previous research which suggests that depression or other mental illness is an important risk factor in suicide.

Related Articles


In Norway, there is still scant scientific evidence of effective prevention strategies, and suicide rates among young men remain high. Most studies of suicide are based on clinical populations, and the detection and treatment of mental disorder is the main focus in suicide prevention strategies in many countries.

Researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health interviewed close relatives and friends of ten young men who, in spite of accomplishments and successes, had unexpectedly taken their own lives in young adulthood about how they knew the deceased and understood the suicide.

The main finding suggests that developmentally, these young men appeared to have compensated for their lack of self-worth by exaggerating the importance of success, thus developing a fragile, achievement-based self-esteem in adulthood which left them vulnerable in the face of rejection and perception of failure.

No signs of mental illness

"Contrary to previous research suggesting that mental illness -- in particular depression -- in the period prior to death is an important risk factor for suicide, few of the informants in our study mentioned depression or other mental illnesses in their narratives," says researcher Mette Lyberg Rasmussen, the first author of the recently published study.

Vulnerable to rejection and failure

"The study's main findings uncover a particular vulnerability to feeling rejected and to not having succeeded in achieving their goals," explains Rasmussen.

"In these situations there is a strong sense of shame and of being trapped in anger. This develops into unbearable thoughts that the vulnerable person cannot regulate or manage, and leads to a feeling of a life not worth living. The former strategy, which involved compensation with continual increased efforts, does not work anymore, and suicide becomes a way out of a situation of unbearable psychological pain," says Rasmussen.

Unique data

The study is based on a unique qualitative data set, consisting of 61 in-depth interviews and 6 suicide notes related to 10 suicides among young men (18 and 30 years) with no prior psychiatric treatment and no previous suicide attempts. For every suicide, Rasmussen and her co-authors analysed in-depth interviews with mothers, fathers/father figures, male friends, siblings and (ex-)-girlfriends about how each one of them experienced the deceased and his suicide in all its complexity.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mette L. Rasmussen, Hanne Haavind, Gudrun Dieserud, Kari Dyregrov. Exploring Vulnerability to Suicide in the Developmental History of Young Men: A Psychological Autopsy Study. Death Studies, 2013; 1 DOI: 10.1080/07481187.2013.780113

Cite This Page:

Norwegian Institute of Public Health. "Suicide in apparently well-functioning young men." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226074923.htm>.
Norwegian Institute of Public Health. (2014, February 26). Suicide in apparently well-functioning young men. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226074923.htm
Norwegian Institute of Public Health. "Suicide in apparently well-functioning young men." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226074923.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The MelaFind device is a pain-free way to check suspicious moles for melanoma, without the need for a biopsy. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battling Multiple Myeloma

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The answer isn’t always found in new drugs – repurposing an ‘old’ drug that could mean better multiple myeloma treatment, and hope. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) New information that is linking chronic inflammation in the prostate and prostate cancer, which may help doctors and patients prevent cancer in the future. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) Blood transfusions are proving crucial to young sickle cell patients by helping prevent strokes, even when there is no outward sign of brain injury. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins