In 2016, the CDC reported American suicides’ were the second most common cause of death among children, teens and young adults aged 10 to 34 (Suicide, n.d.). Sociology provides a methodical approach to examine the extremely complex, multifaceted, and personal issue of suicide. No two people or families are exactly alike and no two suicides can be deemed identical.
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As sociologists and researchers in training we can observe and study the similarities, the patterns and risk factors that are facing teens all over the USA and the world. By looking at teen suicide through the lens of various theoretical perspectives we can gain valuable awareness, insight and understanding of the suicide pandemic. Also, these valuable theoretical perspectives can help us spot risk factors, develop programs and outreaches and even help reduce the presence of environmental factors that may contribute to high risk tendencies of suicide among teens.
Using different theoretical perspectives in the field of Sociology, one can gain a better understanding of the multifaceted and complex phenomnom of teen suicide across various times, families, and cultures. By comparing and contrasting the benefits and limitations of the three well known theoretical perspectives of Symbolic Interaction Theory, Structural Functional Theory, and Feminist Theory, I can better understand teen suicide rates, fluctuations, trends, risk factors, warnings and ways to help reduce teen suicide in my circle of influence.
The first perspective I would use to study teen suicide is the Symbolic Interaction Perspective which looks at how families perceive and define the ideas of right and wrong as well as reality (Benokriaitis,
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