Testing Durkheim's theory of suicide: additional results from Germany

  • Andreas Wiedenmann
  • Siegfried Weyerer
Short Communication

Abstract

In a recent study of 14 European countries, Lester (1993), using inference statistical techniques, confirmed Durkheim's (1897) observation that lower birth rates were associated with higher suicide rates in 1870 and 1980. Due to changes in national boundaries, Germany was excluded from these analyses. Among the federal states of Germany, Bavaria most suitably lends itself to a study of the relationship between suicide and familial integration over time. A long-term analysis of the years between 1865 and 1980 reveals a prominent reciprocal relationship (r=−0.87;P<0.001) between rates of suicide and birth in Bavaria. Marriage rates, on the other hand, correlate only minimally (r=−0.19 ns) with rates of suicide. Our results accord with Durkheim's view that unlike birth rates, higher marriage rates per se are only slightly associated with suicide rates.

Key words

Suicide Birth rate Marriage Bavaria (Germany) 

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References

  1. Durkheim E (1897) Der Selbstmord. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main (published in 1983)Google Scholar
  2. Labovitz S (1968) Variation in suicide rates. In: Gibbs JP (ed) Suicide. Harper and Row, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Lester D (1993) Testing Durkheim's theory of suicide in nineteenth-and twentieth-century Europe. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 243:54–55Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Wiedenmann
    • 1
  • Siegfried Weyerer
    • 1
  1. 1.Central Institute of Mental HealthMannheimGermany

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