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Suicide in stories from the Middle East (8-12th century)


Pridmore, S and Pridmore, W, Suicide in stories from the Middle East (8-12th century), Dynamics of Human Health, 7, (2) ISSN 2382-1019 (2020) [Contribution to Refereed Journal]

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Background: The belief that all or almost all suicide is the result of mental disorder has been promoted by medical professionals. Evidence suggests, however, this is not the case, and other triggers need to be considered. Aim: To determine the nature of suicide triggers in the Middle East during the Golden Age of Islam (8-12th centuries). Method: Folk tales and fiction provide valuable information about life and social issues of the time at which they are set and written. We studied a recent translation of The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1,001 Nights and collated the findings under four headings. Results: There were 1) two mentions of suicide with no intention to act, 2) 26 accounts of suicide mentioned as a possible response to extant circumstance, 3) no accounts of suicide in response to mental disorder, and 4) two accounts of completed suicide as a response to circumstances (betrayal by a spouse and death of a spouse). Conclusions: Suicidal thinking and action was known in the Middle East in the 8-14th centuries. Completed suicide in the absence of mental disorder was known. This is consistent with current thought that the primary trigger of suicide is mental pain/distress and suicide may occur in the absence of mental disorder.

Item Details

Item Type:Contribution to Refereed Journal
Keywords:culture, history, literature, mental health, suicide
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Pridmore, S (Professor Saxby Pridmore)
ID Code:139401
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2020-06-15
Last Modified:2020-06-16

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