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Suicide in Russia: A macro-sociological study
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Sociology. Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, SCOHOST (Stockholm Centre on Health of Societies in Transition). Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This work constitutes a macro-sociological study of suicide. The empirical focus is on suicide mortality in Russia, which is among the highest in the world and has, moreover, developed in a dramatic manner over the second half of the 20th century. Suicide mortality in contemporary Russia is here placed within the context of development over a longer time period through empirical studies on 1) the general and sex- and age-specific developments in suicide over the period 1870–2007, 2) underlying dynamics of Russian suicide mortality 1956–2005 pertaining to differences between age groups, time periods, and particular generations and 3) the continuity in the aggregate-level relationship between heavy alcohol consumption and suicide mortality from late Tsarist period to post-World War II Russia. In addition, a fourth study explores an alternative to Émile Durkheim’s dominating macro-sociological perspective on suicide by making use of Niklas Luhmann’s theory of social systems. With the help of Luhmann’s macro-sociological perspective it is possible to consider suicide and its causes also in terms of processes at the individual level (i.e. at the level of psychic systems) in a manner that contrasts with the ‘holistic’ perspective of Durkheim. The results of the empirical studies show that Russian suicide mortality, despite its exceptionally high level and dramatic changes in the contemporary period, shares many similarities with the patterns seen in Western countries when examined over a longer time period. Societal modernization in particular seems to have contributed to the increased rate of suicide in Russia in a manner similar to what happened earlier in Western Europe. In addition, the positive relationship between heavy alcohol consumption and suicide mortality proved to be remarkably stable across the past one and a half centuries. These results were interpreted using the Luhmannian perspective on suicide developed in this work. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2013. , 66 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 87Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 76
Keyword [en]
Suicide, Russia, historical development, time-series analysis, age-period-cohort analysis, Émile Durkheim, Niklas Luhmann
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-18696ISBN: 978-91-554-8602-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-18696DiVA: diva2:613782
Public defence
2013-04-12, IV, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-04-02 Created: 2013-04-02 Last updated: 2015-03-02Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The historical development of suicide mortality in Russia, 1870-2007
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The historical development of suicide mortality in Russia, 1870-2007
2015 (English)In: Archives of Suicide Research, ISSN 1381-1118, E-ISSN 1573-8159, Vol. 19, no 1, 117-130 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Russia has one of the highest suicide mortality rates in the world. This study investigates the development of Russian suicide mortality over a longer time period in order to provide a context within which the contemporary high level might be better understood. Annual sex- and age-specific suicide-mortality data for Russia for the period 1870-2007 were studied, where available. Russian suicide mortality increased 11-fold over the period. Trends in male and female suicide developed similarly, although male suicide rates were consistently much higher. From the 1990s suicide has increased in a relative sense among the young (15-34), while the high suicide mortality among middle-aged males has reduced. Changes in Russian suicide mortality over the study period may be attributable to modernisation processes.

Keyword
Russia, suicide, modernisa tion, time series, history
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-18698 (URN)10.1080/13811118.2014.915774 (DOI)000349329400009 ()25058568 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84924977283 (ScopusID)
Note

Som manuskript i avhandling. As manuscript in dissertation.

Available from: 2013-02-24 Created: 2013-04-02 Last updated: 2015-04-02Bibliographically approved
2. Age, period and cohort effects on suicide mortality in Russia, 1956-2007
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Age, period and cohort effects on suicide mortality in Russia, 1956-2007
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-18699 (URN)
Note

Som manuskript i avhandling. As manuscript in dissertation.

Available from: 2013-02-24 Created: 2013-04-02 Last updated: 2013-04-02Bibliographically approved
3. Alcohol and Suicide in Russia, 1870-1894 and 1956-2005: Evidence for the Continuation of a Harmful Drinking Culture Across Time?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Alcohol and Suicide in Russia, 1870-1894 and 1956-2005: Evidence for the Continuation of a Harmful Drinking Culture Across Time?
2011 (English)In: Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, ISSN 1937-1888, Vol. 72, no 2, 341-347 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: Previous research suggests that a strong relation exists between alcohol consumption and suicide in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. This study extends this analysis across a much longer historical time frame by examining the relationship between heavy drinking and suicide in tsarist and post-World War 11 Russia. Method: Using alcohol poisoning mortality data as a proxy for heavy drinking, time-series analytical modeling techniques were used to examine the strength of the alcohol-suicide relation in the provinces of European Russia in the period 1870-1894 and for Russia in 1956-2005. Results: During 1870-1894, a decreasing trend was recorded in heavy drinking in Russia that contrasted with the sharp increase observed in this phenomenon in the post-World War 11 period. A rising trend in suicide was recorded in both study periods, although the increase was much greater in the latter period. The strength of the heavy drinking suicide relation nevertheless remained unchanged across time, with a 10% increase in heavy drinking resulting in a 3.5% increase in suicide in tsarist Russia and a 3.8% increase in post-World War II Russia. Conclusions: Despite the innumerable societal changes that have occurred in Russia across the two study periods and the growth in the level of heavy drinking, the strength of the heavy drinking-suicide relation has remained unchanged across time. This suggests the continuation of a highly detrimental drinking culture where the heavy episodic drinking of distilled spirits (vodka) is an essential element in the alcohol-suicide association. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 72, 341-347, 2011)

National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-13438 (URN)000288570800018 ()21388607 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-79952935274 (ScopusID)
Available from: 2011-11-21 Created: 2011-11-21 Last updated: 2014-02-12Bibliographically approved
4. Självmord som ett avlägsnande från kommunikation: ett nytt luhmannskt perspektiv på ett gammalt sociologiskt problem
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Självmord som ett avlägsnande från kommunikation: ett nytt luhmannskt perspektiv på ett gammalt sociologiskt problem
2013 (Swedish)In: Sosiologi i dag, ISSN 0332-6330, Vol. 43, no 1, 58-78 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-18697 (URN)
Available from: 2013-02-24 Created: 2013-04-02 Last updated: 2013-04-02Bibliographically approved

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