Suicide among animals: a review of evidence.

Bibliographic Collection: 
MOCA Reference, APE
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Preti, Antonio
Year of Publication: 2007
Journal: Psychol Rep
Volume: 101
Issue: 3 Pt 1
Pagination: 831-48
Date Published: 2007 Dec
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 0033-2941
Keywords: Altruism, Animals, Behavior, Animal, Self-Injurious Behavior, Suicide

Naturalists have not identified suicide in nonhuman species in field situations, despite intensive study of thousands of animal species. In this review, evidence on suicidal behavior among animals is analyzed to discover analogies with human suicidal behavior. Literature was retrieved by exploring Medline/PubMed and PsychINFO databases (1967-2007) and through manual literature searches. Keyword terms were "suicide or suicidal behavior" and "animal or animal behavior." Few empirical investigations have been carried out on this topic. Nevertheless, sparse evidence supports some resemblance between the self-endangering behavior observed in the animal kingdom, particularly in animals held in captivity or put under pressure by environmental challenges, and suicidal behavior among humans. Animal models have contributed to the study of both normal and pathological human behaviors: discovering some correlates of suicide among animals could be a valid contribution to the field.

DOI: 10.2466/pr0.101.3.831-848
Alternate Journal: Psychol Rep
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