Summary, Conclusions, Implications

  • C. A. Soper
Part of the Evolutionary Psychology book series (EVOLPSYCH)


An integrated “pain and brain” theory of the evolution of suicide is proposed, which appears to fulfil the original objectives set for the investigation. The theory may help to elucidate, incidentally, a diversity of human psychological and psychiatric phenomena that are otherwise difficult to explain and synthesise. Some implications of this theoretical framework are noted for suicide research, suicide prevention strategies, and broader mental health policy. The model offers theoretical support for the view that a search for usefully predictive biomarkers of suicide risk is unlikely to succeed, and that more effective preventative solutions probably lie in public health measures to restrict access to lethal means. A psychopharmaceutical paradigm for the treatment of mental disorders is challenged. The suicide taboo may be broadly protective, but it may also impede the study of suicide. An invitation to look more closely at the evolution of suicide is made, on the grounds that it may underlie many aspects of human thought and behaviour, including most people’s sense that life is worth living.


Suicide Evolution Evolutionary theory Human evolution Pain and brain Shilton Krol Mental disorder Psychopharmacology Suicide prevention Means restriction Creationism God Alcoholics Anonymous 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Soper
    • 1
  1. 1.Private PracticeLisbonPortugal

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