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New Micro-Level Data on the Impact of Divorce on Suicide, 1959-1980: A Test of Two Theories

Steven Stack
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 52, No. 1 (Feb., 1990), pp. 119-127
DOI: 10.2307/352844
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/352844
Page Count: 9
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New Micro-Level Data on the Impact of Divorce on Suicide, 1959-1980: A Test of Two Theories
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Abstract

The literature on the effect of divorce on suicide has neglected the issue of whether or not the strength of the association would change over time. The present study addresses this question from the standpoint of two opposed explanations: status integration theory and the Durkheimian perspective. The former would predict a decline in the effect of divorce on suicide, given that status configurations based on divorce have become statistically more frequent. The latter would predict no change or an increase in suicide. The analysis uses micro- or individual-level data that were only recently made available. The results provide some support for both perspectives. The gap between the suicide rates of the divorced and married has narrowed as divorce has become more common. The gap is, however, still substantial, given the high egoism/anomie of the divorced. Finally, in an analysis of all four marital statuses, status integration theory was not supported.

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