: The establishment of typologies of deaths by suicide using numerical taxonomy of valid and reliable parameters has potential for both understanding suicide and its antecedent circumstances, and as an aid to public health programs of prevention. Methods:
We searched the published literature for reports of taxonomic studies of death by suicide, using the methods of cluster analysis, but were only able to locate 12 studies. Results:
Published research is sparse, and has produced varied findings, but distinct types of death by suicide clearly exist. Typologies differ between cultures, perhaps because of the varying dominance of fatal methods (e.g., gunshot, jumping from heights). Limitations:
The small number of studies located makes generalizations difficult. Conclusions:
Taxonomic studies of death suicide need to be undertaken regularly, in all world countries in which valid and reliable data are available, in order to describe changing patterns of suicide and its correlates, and to establish priorities for public health interventions. This need for such research is a challenge for suicidology.
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