Moral Intuitions and Suicide Risk: Results from a National Sample of Icelandic Youth

Combining insights from Moral Foundations Theory and the Durkheimian tradition, we examine the effects of moral intuitions on suicide risk. We argue that moral intuitions constitute amoral-regulative force that individuals bring with them into a range of socially structured settings and that influence their behavior independent of the structural forces in play in those settings. Focusing on Iceland, an economically advanced country with a largely secular and individualistic culture, and using data from a national sample of youth between the ages of 16 and 21 (N = 10,710), we find that group-oriented (binding) moral intuitions are associated with lower suicide risk while individual-oriented (individualizing) moral intuitions are associated with higher suicide risk. We also find an unexpected (non-linear) protective effect among respondents with strong individualizing moral intuitions, and some evidence that the effects of individualizing moral intuitions on suicide risk are conditioned by involvement in socially integrative relationships. Overall, our results suggest that the sociological study of suicide would be meaningfully improved by incorporating moral intuitions into the model.

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Work Title Moral Intuitions and Suicide Risk: Results from a National Sample of Icelandic Youth
Access
Open Access
Creators
  1. Eric Silver
  2. Jason R. Silver
  3. Inga Dora Sigfusdottir
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
Publisher
  1. Social Forces
Publication Date August 13, 2020
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/soaa078
Deposited July 19, 2022

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Version 1
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  • Created
  • Added Silver-Silver-Sigfusdottir_2020_Moral_Intuitions_and_Suicide_Risk.pdf
  • Added Creator Eric Silver
  • Added Creator Jasmine R. Silver
  • Added Creator Inga Dora Sigfusdottir
  • Published
  • Updated Work Title, Subtitle, Publication Date Show Changes
    Work Title
    • Moral Intuitions and Suicide Risk
    • Moral Intuitions and Suicide Risk: Results from a National Sample of Icelandic Youth
    Subtitle
    • Results from a National Sample of Icelandic Youth
    Publication Date
    • 2021-06-01
    • 2020-08-13
  • Renamed Creator Jason R. Silver Show Changes
    • Jasmine R. Silver
    • Jason R. Silver