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Elder Suicide: Durkheim’s Vision
Please note that this is an external course. In order to complete this course, you must purchase and read Elder Suicide: Durkheim’s Vision, by Stephen M. Marson, then complete an exam.
Suicide among the elderly occurs at a higher rate than those of other age cohorts, is more successful, and has the lowest rates of failed attempts. Gerontological practitioners must be aware of what leads to elder suicide, as the victims are unlikely to call attention to the matter themselves before they make an attempt.
Stephen Marson has spent over 40 years as a practicing social work gerontologist, studying the sociological theories for suicide intervention of elderly clients. Ultimately, Marson determined that Emile Durkheim’s theory of suicide was the perfect fit for understanding suicidal distress in the elderly. Rather than focusing on psychological diagnoses, he uses Durkheim’s theory to identify fatalistic, anomic, egoistic, and altruistic environmental circumstances that create suicide potential.
Marson addresses these four dimensions, and explores the gerontological research and social history that illustrate the evidence. He then presents various intervention strategies that will help practitioners to identify social factors (for example, age, gender, education, and marriage) that provide clues into the potentially suicidal patient and establish an intervention strategy to address suicide based on the social environment.
- Understand Durkheim’s suicide theory.
- Apply Durkheim’s theory to the older adult population.
- Identify a fatalistic social environment to benefit older adults.
- Identify an anomic social environment to benefit older adults.
- Identify an altruistic social environment to benefit older adults.
- Identify an egotistic social environment to benefit older adults.
- Understand the importance of the social worker’s social history to prevent suicide in older adults.
- Use evaluations tools as a preventative strategy for older adult suicide.
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