Is it in the Family? A Reflection from the Field on Hereditary Factors influencing Suicide

Dominic Pendanam


Heredity as a factor influencing suicide is in the realm of the probable. The present paper is an attempt to probe the probability of considering heredity as a factor influencing suicide. Effort is made to juxtapose the two divergent views on heredity – one acknowledging the possibility and the other rejecting the possibility- as a cause for suicide. Authors who lay greater emphasis on the individual and who consider suicide as an individual act tend to hold the view that suicide can be hereditary. Durkheim who establishes suicide as a social fact negates the role of race and heredity in the suicidal act. The paper looks at these two views based on a review of literature. Without being naïve and dodgy on this issue the paper further attempts with two narratives from the field to nudge the point that in the search for the causes of suicide nothing should be left unconsidered. All causes (even if they are not proved beyond doubt), even the apparently paltry; need to be considered to arrive at a more encompassing understanding of the tantalizing phenomenon of suicide.


Heredity, Suicide, Farmers' Suicide

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