Suicide and Attempted Suicide in the Royal Navy

Cullen, William (1960) Suicide and Attempted Suicide in the Royal Navy. MD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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A series of 162 cases of suicide over the last 13 years and of 315 cases of attempted suicide over the last 5 years in the Royal Navy have been collected for this study and have been analysed in detail. It has been shown that the ratio of suicide to attempted suicide in the Royal Navy is approximately 1 : 8. 5. Suicide has been shown to be little influenced by stressful situations in the Royal Navy; attempted suicide is however influenced by such situations. It has also been shown that the majority of attempted suicides in the Royal Navy are histrionic and self-directed aggressive acts, in which the element of an appeal for help amounting almost to blackmail in such a setting as the Navy, was well marked; the attempted suicide was expected to influence the patient's environment and not to produce death. It has also been shown that both suicide and attempted suicide tend to be concentrated in groups where aggressive tendencies must be carefully controlled. It is seldom encountered in groups in the service where aggression can be discharged, either directly as in conditions of active service or indirectly by frequent exposure to the risks of danger and death. No findings contrary to those already recorded by other workers on these subjects in relation to the various aspects of suicide and attempted suicide (for example, the increasing tendency to suicide with increasing age, the methods used etc.) have been demonstrated. Durkheim's original findings on suicide in military personnel have been confirmed. A hypothesis has been put forward, linking suicide and attempted suicide under Royal Naval conditions of service in an inverse ratio with the ability and opportunity to discharge aggressive drives. It has been suggested that suicide and attempted suicide are basically the same act, performed by different groups of people, depending ultimately on the relative development of instinctual drives and ego strength.

Item Type: Thesis (MD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Clinical psychology, Military studies
Date of Award: 1960
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1960-79349
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2020 10:39
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2020 10:39

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