Suicide and attempted suicide: their relation to subjective social stress indicators.

S. F. Landau, G. Rahav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated the relationship between the subjective perception of external stress and suicidal behavior, using a stress model which indicated that the probability of suicide and attempted suicide, as a reaction to stress, increases when social support systems fail or malfunction. We conceived the subjective perception of social stress as expressions of worry or dissatisfaction regarding cardinal life domains such as economic, security, or political situations. We defined support systems in terms of national solidarity expressed as positive (or improved) attitudes regarding the relations between various segments of the population, and we derived the data regarding the subjective indicators from continuing surveys of representative samples of urban Israeli population during the years 1967 through 1979. Eight stress indicators and three solidarity indicators were included, and our findings generally supported the theoretical model. However, the findings regarding men conformed best in relation to suicide, whereas those regarding women confirmed the theoretical model mainly in relation to attempted suicide. Contrary to the model, female suicide rates decreased in times of stress. Feelings of social solidarity in the population were found to reduce suicidal behavior of both men and women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-294
Number of pages22
JournalGenetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1989
Externally publishedYes


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