Elizabeth Tautuiaki Professor Gauss Sociology 3 March 3009

Journal Review The article I reviewed, “Sociologist says this month’s family murdersuicides only the tip of the iceberg”, highlights some of the reasons families and family members find themselves at the brink of suicide. It thoroughly explains how families arrive at this point, moreover, it explains that not much societal attention has been paid to this particular problem. The article calls for society to pay attention to this issue because this is happening in the world more often as of today, particularly with the economic downfall. A family sociologist at the University of Buffalo said that this month’s murdersuicides involving a family of four in Ohio and a family of five in California may “just be at the tip of the iceberg.” The author wants to call attention to this phenomenon because he believes that these instances will only increase as the economy gets even worse. Another man from my reading by the name of Sampson Blair says that, family murder-suicides are still relatively uncommon, although he also expects an increase in such incidents over the next few years because economic strain on families, “provokes depression and desperation” (29). In my opinion, I agree with their findings and predictions because families losing their homes, jobs and businesses, become overwhelmed with the stressof not even being able to provide the basics like putting food on the table. This creates a sense of helplessness

that can drive people to do desperate things and acts they might not otherwise do. Consequently, violence becomes part of what comes out of the financial problems. The stress coming from financial instability can result in violent reactions by family members, which impacts the quality of family relationships. Thus, family violence can increase, resulting in many negative forms of abuse such as, “spousal abuse, child neglect, and other forms of dysfunctional behavior like substance abuse” (29). The article states that these problems always exist, but they begin to worsen in periods of economic depression. At these times there’s an increase in the overall suicide rates connected with the job losses. People start to lose jobs, hence their self esteem levels drop, which causes them to give up with some people turning to suicide as their problem solver. Blair points out that many parents experiencing job losses are also dealing with the pressure and responsibility that goes along with being a spouse or a parent. These pressures are doubled when talking about single parent households, many of whom work minimum wages to support their kids, trying to provide food, clothes, shelter, healthcare, and enough attention for their kids. The article wants to emphasize that in today’s world of these everyday pressures, just one big loss, like the loss of a job can turn normally functional people down a dark path in their lives which can be alcohol, drugs, abuse, violence and possibly suicide. This article made me think about what I had read in my Sociology text which states that suicide rates are much higher among whites. Although the article did not state which ethnicities of families experience

these murder-suicides more often, I would guess that the rates would be similar with more murder-suicides among white families than among families of color. The sociology text says whites tend to commit suicide at higher rates because of their lack of cultural and family connections. It’s interesting to me that white people have the highest suicide rate although at the same time they are some of the wealthiest people on earth. All things considered, the author of the article wants to draw attention to the incidences of suicide, or worse, murder, especially because it hasn’t received a lot of attention among family researches, “because it is a relatively uncommon occurrence”, but he believes these instances could begin to increase with the coming economic storm. Citations
University at Buffalo; Sociologist says this month's family murder-suicides only 'the tip of the iceberg'. (2009, March). NewsRx Health & Science,232. Retrieved March 3, 2009, from Sciences Module database. (Document ID: 1651802911).