Youth Suicide in Australia

Topics: Sociology, Suicide, Émile Durkheim Pages: 5 (1973 words) Published: June 1, 2012
Suicide, binge drinking and deviant behaviour

This essay will discuss the topics of youth suicide, binge drinking and deviant behaviour amongst Australian teenagers. It will show why Australian teenagers involve themselves in such behaviour and analyse the reasons by using sociological theories. It will also give a Christian perspective to these behaviours and show why such trends are occurring. There are types of deviant behaviour which are called delinquency. This refers to acts that are criminal, or are considered anti-social, which are committed by young people (Harambolos & Holburn, 2004, p.331). However, many deviant acts that are disapproved of are not defined as criminal. For example suicide and alcoholism are not illegal in Australia. Deviant behaviour can be defined as social problems reflect violations of normative expectations. Behaviour or situations that depart from norms are deviant. Deviant behaviour is caused by inappropriate socialization – for example, when the learning of deviant ways is not outweighing by the learning of non-deviant ways. This socialization is viewed as taking place within the context of primary group relations (Rubington & Weinberg, 2003, p.124). Both suicide and binge drinking can be classified as deviant behaviour. A death is classified as a suicide when a person has died as a result of a deliberate act to cause his or her own death (Life, living is for everyone, 2011). In 2009, two thousand, one hundred and thirty two deaths by suicide were registered in Australia (ABS, 2011). According to research, the suicide rates in Australia are at an unacceptably high level. Research also shows that in Queensland alone suicide cost due to loss in productive life-years lost is around $40million (Social factors in suicide Australia, 1996). Studies show that the suicide rate among married people tends to be lower. Because suicide is correlated with domestic integration then marriage serves as the best protection against suicide. There is also a strong correlation between unemployment and the suicide rate. People who are unskilled, lower wage levels and greater sensitivity to market forces tend to have high suicide rates. There are also high suicide rates among overseas born migrants, due to the degree of social and community integration (Social factors in Suicide Australia, 19960.

Sociological studies have viewed suicide as a product of the nature of the relationship between the individual and the society. Half of the suicides were primarily anomic-caused by a social environment characterised by sudden or emphatic changes which impaired the individual’s capacity to regulate desires and aspirations (Social factors in suicide in Australia, 1996). Anomic deviance according to Durkheim and his successors like Robert K. Merton is what happens when social order itself has weakened, social bonds are breaking down and people are becoming more and more individualised. In this condition of anomie, large numbers of people break the rules and so the suicide rate or the crime rate increases (Bessant & Watts, 2007, p.413). Normal deviance is said to be positive and good for society. It occurs in any society with a strong moral constitution, and is beneficial because it helps to maintain boundaries that mark out very clearly what is acceptable behaviour or not (Bessant & Watts, 2007, p.413). Society caused aggregate trends to operate. Social facts capture the operation of society on individuals. Crime or suicide rates rise or fall, and Durkheim believed these rates were the ‘social facts’ which a properly scientific sociology could be best explained (Bessant & Watts, 2007, p.412). Durkheim also believed that it was possible to identify other social factors such as an increase in wealth or a rise in the unemployment rate were the structural facts or aggregate facts that determined other social facts, for example the suicide rate (Bessant & Watts, 2007, p.412). If somebody were to...
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