Academic journal article East Asian Archives of Psychiatry

Suicide and Culture: Understanding the Context

Academic journal article East Asian Archives of Psychiatry

Suicide and Culture: Understanding the Context

Article excerpt

Suicide and Culture: Understanding the Context

Authors: Erminia Colucci, David Lester

Hogrefe Publishing

USD 42.18;pp270; ISBN: 978-0889374362

This is a relatively short text filled with powerful epistemological (belief-dependent) arguments on the meaning of suicide beyond a conventional medical model. Written by scholars with outstanding backgrounds in social psychiatry, sociology and anthropology, this book is richly informed socio-culturally. Wisely, it builds the scaffolds of theories on suicide and evidence from field studies that are open to ongoing communications with the conventional biological and medical sources. This book is a rare representative of its genre and definitely enlightening for all clinicians and researchers with an enthusiastic quest for better understanding and clinical practice in suicide prevention.

In the era in which disease models are dominated by biological psychiatry, it aptly addresses the chiasma between depth psycho-cultural issues and neuroscience. Thus, the first chapter is devoted to a discussion of "Why culture is important even in biological research" with witty examples cited across genetics, neuroimaging, epigenetics, and psychopharmacology. "Biology is not culture free." (Chen et al, 2007) "... there are environmental influences on gene expression ... the key process that determines the functional operation of genes. Some genetic effects are contingent on an interaction with specific environmental influences so that any understanding of the causal pathway must incorporate identification of the mechanisms underlying the interplay, along the pathway from thought processes to behavior." (Rutter, 2006). "Change the context and you change the brain's response" (Restak, 2006). 'Transcultural neuroimaging has shown that cultural background influences neural activity." (Stompe, 2009). The opening chapter concludes with a solidly grounded assertion for a paradigm shift in suicide research to move the field forward. …

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