Relationship Between Cultural Behaviors, Beliefs, and Suicide Rates Essay

From the moment in time at which a baby is born, to the point at which they are faced with death, culture plays a significant role in their life. Culture can simply be defined as being the shared religious beliefs, behaviors, and social practices of a certain group of people. Because culture contributes to a person’s identity and shapes their outlook on life, it can either have a positive or negative effect on a person. In some cases, depression victims feel socially excluded and further depressed as a result of society’s values and principles.

This can lead to the victim contemplating suicide as an option to end the never ending pain or heartache. When analyzing suicide rates in different countries, each country has different results, some countries producing higher suicide rates than others. As a result of these differing numbers, the possibility of there being a relationship between a country’s culture and its suicide rates is suggested. For example, Japan is known for having strict values and principles. In addition, “Japan has for years had one of the world’s highest suicide rates. It can be understood that there may be a correlation between Japan’s culture and its suicide rates. However because culture is a broad topic, it is necessary to narrow the topic down to a specific category of culture. This semester, I plan on analyzing the relationship between suicide rates and the culture of two similar countries. As mentioned before, because culture is a broad topic I plan on narrowing it down to the religious aspect of culture, analyzing an ethnic groups’ religious perspective on suicide.

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I would also like to gain a better understanding of whether the suicide rates may be affected by the religion’s view on suicide. This topic justifies a semester of sustained research because I have a personal interest in the issue. In addition, I believe it will be interesting examining different views on suicide. I plan on researching about different ethnic groups and their suicide rates before narrowing down which specific groups I would like to use for my topic.

Using this approach will make it easier to introduce the topic if the ethnic groups show similarities between each other, making it easier to convince the audience because it will prove there is a connection or pattern shown in groups to support the argument. Psychology has always been a subject I have been drawn to. The complexity of the mind simply astonishes me whenever I hear stories on the news about mass murderers, cannibalistic people, etc. and I believe it’s fascinating the way ordinary people like you and I can be pushed to do unimaginable things as a result of experiencing death or any other kind of hardship.

I have studied the topic of depression in the past, specifically my senior year in high school. I studied a book called Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon where the author essentially created an atlas specifically for the ambiguous disease. I, however, understand that it will be necessary to find books that will go hand in hand with the issue and help me gain a better grasp on the possible relationship between cultural pressures and suicide rates. Although I need to find books with a substantial amount of information on the topic, I’ve had little to no trouble finding articles online that have analyzed the issue.

In addition, I recently learned about the different approaches to psychology and learned about the existence of one in particular called the sociocultural approach which is an approach psychologist use when examining both society’s and culture’s influence on a person’s behavior. Knowing that there is such a branch in psychology, suggests I will have little to no difficulty finding research material for the topic. Despite my prior knowledge about depression, I still have many questions I would like to answer through my research on the issue. Here are a few: What cultural pressures are dominant in each country?

Does a religion’s perspective on suicide play a key role in either causing or preventing suicide? Does society’s view on suicide have an impact on the depression victim’s decision? What can be done to reduce the escalating numbers of suicide victims across the globe? I have a clear understanding that there will be controversy due to the complexity of the issue. This will result in there being allies, enemies, and stakeholders in the audience. The allies will consist of open minded people in the audience that are either interested in psychology or open to the possibility of suicide being a product of culture.

Because culture plays a significant role in a person’s life, it can be understood that there may be people in the audience that might be offended by the idea of their religion being blamed for the high suicide rates in their country. As a result, enemies will consist of religious audience members with strong opinions on the topic. In addition, the individuals that will be labeled as stakeholders will consist of parents, children, teachers, etc. Because I am limited in terms of the stakeholders I can name, I hope that once I begin researching, I will be able to uncover other potential stakeholders that could be added to the list.

Because I have no personal experience with the topic of depression, I will not be able to apply personal instances where culture has pushed me to consider suicide. However, through research, I will search for specific cases where people from each country have thought about committing suicide as a result of their religion’s perspective on suicide. Depending on my audience, I will determine whether it will be best to either introduce the topic by utilizing emotional appeal, or by presenting the audience with facts and statistics that will reinforce points made.

I am fascinated with this topic and am excited to learn more about the issue. I’m interested in how complex the issue is, and the different directions I can go in when discussing the topic. I also hope that through my research I will be able to raise awareness on the topic because I strongly believe this is an issue that requires attention. Works Cited Yamaguchi, Mari. “Japan Suicide Rate Still Among The World’s Highest Due To Low JobProspects. ” Huff Post. The Huffington Post, 3 Mar. 2011. Web. 21 Sept. 2012..