Thursday, April 15, 2004

Death due to Extrovertness

I am very much concerned with the idea of suicide, and only today did I actually managed to finish a sample research proposal for my research in psychology class. The topic that I was proposing to research on is comparing the intensity of susceptibility for suicide between two depressed groups, the extroverts and introverts.

Many would actuallly think that depressed introverts are more susceptible to suicidal ideation incompared with depressed extroverts, but regarding this matter, I hypothesized differently. I believe that Depressed extroverts are more susceptible in comparison with depressed introverts due to multiple faceted reasons, such as the difference in emotional energy source as well as the intensity of need for the desired social interaction between the two personality trait for social functioning.

My hypothesis is not completely groundless, Edwin Shneidman in his literature, "Is Suicide a Selfish Act?" calls it “born of mental anguish” (Shneidman, 1998). Shneidman build upon the idea of psychological pain as being the utmost authority determining suicide by identifying to aspect of this deadly pain, perturbation and lethality, each interacting with each other while still playing their own role in contributing to motivate suicide.

Perturbation is when a person suffers from mental and emotional pain, and lethality suggested the idea that death, in the form of nothingness, cessation, would serve as a solution to ease the pain. Lethality coupled with increased perturbation, is a key ingredient to suicide or the desire to inflict death upon oneself. In short, perturbation serves as the motivation for suicide, while lethality is the trigger to the act of suicide (Shneidman, 1998).

Elaborating on the concept of perturbation, Shneidman managed to pinpoint its causes to frustration due to lack of perceive needs. The content of the need itself does not determine or affect suicide very much, but it is the intensity of the frustration due to the inability to meet the basic need for the functioning of the specific personality that actually undermines the degree of intensity for the motivation of suicide. There are usuallymultiple needs involved in the functioning of a specific personality, and the frustration caused by constant thwarting; blocking, incompleteness of being unable to receive the perceive need for functioning, and also the stress due to the inability to fulfill those needs that causes the person unbearable tension (Suicidal Mind 68).

M. J. Grainge, T. S. Brugha, N. Spiers, in their study of social support with depressive symptoms in May 2000, hypothesized that depression is stronger in extroverts due to lack of social support. They also explained that extroverts in comparison with introverts, possesses concerns that are directed outward, rather than inward; they are usually much more active, impulsive, gregarious, fond of excitement, and are aggressive when compared with a more private personality of introverts. Extroverts require social interactions to function in a greater degree than an introvert would, therefore, a small social network would lead to a psychological problem for extroverts (Grainge 2000).

Though introverts may be depressed, their depression may be of a different degree of intensity when compared with extroverts’ version of depression. It may be easier for introverts to get out from or overcome their depression because their source of energy, being a private person, would include contemplating their own thoughts, feelings, emotions, and most importantly solitude rather than to seek social intercourse like how an extrovert would. Social interaction being an animate entity can be rather erratic, highly inconsistent and an unpredictable. It is a variable that is hard to manipulate, and from looking at it from the point of the extroverts, to obtain energy from such as source may be a big challenge if one do not possess the qualities, and resources required to abstract emotional food from such a source. Qualities to obtain social affirmation may include physical attractiveness, intelligence, and good communication skills. Introverts on the other hand, have an easier time with their source of energy—solitude. Solitude being an inanimate object would be fairly easy to manipulate to accommodate to the seekers expectations.

Extroverts, being unable to contain their depressive symptoms, due to lack of emotional/mental food, they sink deeper into depression to the point of severe hopelessness/pessimism. Longitudinal studies have shown that people who obtain high scores on the Beck Hopelessness Scale are at increased risk for suicide (Beck, Brown, & Steer, 1989). Because of their inability to rejuvenate their emotional/mental health due to lack of attention getting resources, extroverts are trapped in an endless cycle of depression, sinking into a bottomless pit of hopelessness of no return, continuously spiraling downwards to point that they could no longer tolerate the mental anguish anymore that the finally resorted to suicide as a solution to escape (Shneidman, 1998).

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