U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Criminal Behavior and Psychology: Who Wants To Be Dead? (From Policing in Central and Eastern Europe: Dilemmas of Contemporary Criminal Justice, P 416-431, 2004, Gorazd Mesko, et al., eds. -- See NCJ-207973)

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2004
16 pages

Using a case study of the suicide of a successful, well-known television reporter in Argentina, this paper reviews the individual and social factors in suicide, provides data on suicide rates in various countries throughout the world, and assesses the nature and objectives of the investigation of a suicide.


The analysis of the causes of suicide features a review of various theories of suicide proposed by psychologists, such as psychological states of hopelessness and depression, publicity about the suicide of famous people and identification with them, pressures imposed by social and occupational conditions, abrupt change in social status and sense of self, and the sacrifice of self in a larger purpose. The extent and nature of suicide investigations varies according to the laws of the jurisdiction in which the suicide occurs. In Argentina, where the case study occurred, cause of death is determined; and if suicide is the cause, an investigation may be conducted to determine whether anyone incited or helped the person to commit suicide. Any person convicted of such an act will face imprisonment from 1 to 4 years. In cases of attempted suicide, the person who attempts it is not prosecuted, but anyone who may have incited or helped in the attempt may be prosecuted. In the case study, various persons in the victim's life are being investigated to determine whether they have any criminal responsibility for the victim's suicide. 1 table and 44 notes

Date Published: September 1, 2004