The Evolution of Suicide

  • C A Soper

Part of the Evolutionary Psychology book series (EVOLPSYCH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. C. A. Soper
    Pages 1-42
  3. C. A. Soper
    Pages 153-194
  4. C. A. Soper
    Pages 251-283
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 285-289

About this book


This thought-provoking volume offers a distinctly human evolutionary analysis of a distinctly human phenomenon: suicide. Its ‘pain and brain’ model posits animal adaptations as the motivator for suicidal escape, and specific human cognitive adaptations as supplying the means , while also providing a plausible explanation for why only a relatively small number of humans actually take their own lives. The author hypothesizes two types of anti-suicide responses, active and reactive mechanisms prompted by the brain as suicide deterrents. Proposed as well is the intriguing prospect that mental disorders such as depression and addiction, long associated with suicidality, may serve as survival measures.

Among the topics covered:

·         Suicide as an evolutionary puzzle.

·         The protection against suicide afforded to animals and young children.

·         Suicide as a by-product of pain and human cognition.

·         Why psychodynamic defenses regulate the experiencing of painful events.

·         Links between suicidality and positive psychology.

·         The anti-suicide role of spiritual and religious belief.

In raising and considering key questions regarding this most controversial act, The Evolution of Suicide will appeal to researchers across a range of behavioral science disciplines. At the same time, the book’s implications for clinical intervention and prevention will make it useful among mental health professionals and those involved with mental health policy.


suicide self-harm evolutionary theory evolutionary psychology evolution and mental disorders psychosis schizophrenia anxiety disorder delusion OCD eating disorders major depression

Authors and affiliations

  • C A Soper
    • 1
  1. 1.Private PracticeLisbonPortugal

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Behavioral Science and Psychology
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-77299-8
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-77300-1
  • Series Print ISSN 2197-9898
  • Series Online ISSN 2197-9901
  • Buy this book on publisher's site