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Death by Despair

Shame and Suicide

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Ramón Martínez de Pisón

Suicide is one of the major causes of violent death in our societies. The fact that adolescents and the elderly are the two population groups with the highest rates of suicide challenges many assumptions of the past regarding human development. By the time they reach their teens, many adolescents lack the necessary skills to deal with stressful events in a healthy life-enhancing way. At the same time, the last stage of human development is not necessarily one in which people feel fulfilled. In this book, Ramón Martínez de Pisón expands the theory of Lazarus and Folkman (1984) for coping with stress in order to show that toxic shame is one of the most important personal and environmental constraints inhibiting one’s ability to cope with suicide and suicide-related events in a healthy way.