Sunday, October 18, 2020

Interpreting Suicide Statistics

People read what they want into statistics. For example, statistics show that men who are divorced are  nine times more likely to die by suicide compared to divorced women. Why is not so clear so everyone just makes a guess and usually that guess aligns with their own experience and worldview. 

The author of an article in Psychology Today quotes: 

Dr. Kposowa, a sociologist at the University of California–Riverside, suggested that society has undervalued the strength of paternal-child bonds, and thus underestimated the traumatic effect of severing those bonds through our typical custody arrangements. Further, we fail to appreciate the catastrophic financial impact of divorce on men, and the anger and resentment engendered by losses of both property and status in the wake of a divorce settlement. 

but also states:

I suspect that something else is afoot. Couldn't it be that the personality and social factors that contributed to the failure of the marriage also contribute to excess suicide risk afterward? Couldn't the risk factors for divorce in men be related to the risk factors for suicide in divorced men? Female dissatisfaction with the marriage is a stable predictor of an eventual divorce. Perhaps we should consider marital behaviors that might lead to such dissatisfaction.

which is just an opinion. 

I, quite unsurprisingly, think that a combination of financial obligations (alimony is paid by the man in 98+ of cases), loss of contact with their children, and the crime rewarding nature of our family court system lead more men than women to commit suicide after a divorce because they are most often the victim. No one has the evidence to prove or disprove that in general but it is certainly true, and supported by the evidence, in my case.

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