Title page for ETD etd-05142006-100951


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Lovejoy, Ian Travis
Author's Email Address ILovejoy@vt.edu
URN etd-05142006-100951
Title Post September 11th Suicide Rates: Durkheim and Communal Bereavement
Degree Master of Science
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Hughes, Michael D. Committee Chair
Fuller, Theodore D. Committee Member
Yuan, Anastasia Sue Vogt Committee Member
Keywords
  • Social Theory
  • Suicide
  • Durkheim
  • Communal Bereavement
Date of Defense 2006-05-10
Availability unrestricted
Abstract

The purpose of this study is to determine what, if any, effect the September 11th terrorist attacks had on national suicide rates in the time following the attacks. Two schools of thought seem to give contradicting proposals. The first is the classical Durkheimian model, which predicts that the national integration brought on by the attacks should cause a decrease in anomie and consequently a decrease in suicides.

The opposing view point is that of communal bereavement, which proposes an increase in suicides after a public tragedy due to the tendency of individuals to be emotionally impacted by events which do not involve them directly.

To test which theoretical framework prevails, the suicide rates of one hundred days prior to September 11th, 2001 and one hundred days after were compared to the suicide rates of the days within the same time frame in the years 1999, 2000, and 2002 to test if there was a statistical change in the daily suicide rate. A series of regressions were conducted to determine if changes in suicide rates did in fact occur. Data was collected from the Center for Disease Control National Center for Health Statistics mortality database.

Analysis showed that suicide rates do not change significantly after September 11th, 2001, as compared to the same time periods in 1999, 2000, and 2002.

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