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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: David C. Clark, PhD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This book represents a republication of a previous issue of the journal Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior. The editors present a collection of independent surveys of theory and knowledge about suicidal behavior that might guide or inform suicide prevention activities. The contributors are best known as students of suicide with diverse perspectives.
Purpose: Because scale prevention programs and activities have traditionally been narrow and focused in scope, with only glancing references to a larger, more comprehensive theory of suicidal behavior, this effort to spur dialogue and debate, to spur "integrated explication of how existing prevention theories, concepts, and technologies" interrelate, is welcome.
Audience: The book will appeal to suicide investigators exploring public health or clinical prevention strategies, program-based clinicians, and funding agencies looking for a context within which to evaluate new prevention programs.
Features: The multiplicity of contributors is the book's greatest strength and weakness. There is little congruence among the chapters, robbing the reader of opportunities to learn from debate or controversy. The chapter on adult suicide, the age group encompassing the numerical bulk of suicides, is thin and dated. A chapter on the Dutch experiment with physician-assisted suicide seems out of place.
Assessment: The comprehensive review chapters by Mosicki (epidemiology) and Litman (treatment settings) are excellent..