Child and Adolescent Suicide

From the Nomothetic to the Idiographic
  • Alan L. Berman

Abstract

Penny (she liked that much better than Penelope), a black female, was only 12 years old, but already she had lived a lifetime. Her cocaine-addicted father walked out when she was 5, only weeks after her brother was born and was diagnosed as having cerebral palsy. Her father was never to be seen again. As a single parent, Penny’s mother was overwhelmed with the demands of attending to her brother’s needs. Penny frequently was thrust into a surrogate parent role in order to help her mother merely cope. Yet, Penny was still a child and when her mother could afford them, babysitters were hired to alleviate the stress on both Penny and her mom. That was the good news. The bad news was that one babysitter, a middle-aged woman, had a teenage son who, whenever he could, sexually abused Penny. As is common to scripts like this, Penny was “sworn to secrecy” lest some more intolerable fate were to befall her or her brother. So the walls went up.

Keywords

Cerebral Palsy Suicide Attempt Suicidal Behavior Personality Disorder Adolescent Psychiatry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan L. Berman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyAmerican UniversityUSA

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