The Intermountain West has an overall suicide rate markedly higher than the national average. An ethnographic study was initiated in one county in the Intermountain West. This paper explores the cultural factors contributing to the high suicide rates in Park County, Wyoming. This was a starting point in ultimately determining whether a syndemic is occurring in this region. Evidence-based suicide risk factors, as employed in psychological autopsy technique developed by Edwin Shneidman and his associates, were used as a foundation to conduct a community-wide assessment for suicidality. This method is referred to as an anthropological biopsy or “anthropsy” for short. The cowboy culture and associated risk factors, present in Park County, produce an environment that is highly conducive to suicidality, which is especially dangerous for those who have an underlying mental illness. The physiological effects of altitude in the region also contribute to the risk and serve to compound the risk factors contributing to suicidality. James Reason's Swiss Cheese Model is used as a framework to explain the complex nature of how factors, that are subjective to the individual, align and result in a suicide death.
Keywords: suicide, cowboy culture, anthropsy, syndemic, high altitude, Intermountain West, Swiss Cheese Model, interpersonal-psychological theory, biological systems theory
|School:||Metropolitan State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||MAI 53/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Neurosciences, Mental health, Behavioral psychology|
|Keywords:||Anthropsy, Cowboy culture, High altitude, Intermountain west, Suicide, Syndemic|
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