Suicide by self-immolation: Causal and contributing factors

Therese Ellis-Smith, Rebekah M. Doley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


The current chapter provides an overview of the complex topic of self-immolation, or setting oneself on fire, in an effort to identify the factors contributing to its current prevalence. The chapter considers both the historical factors that have contributed to the relatively tacit acceptance of self-immolation in some cultures and some of the more recent influences on its prevalence. Sociological perspectives on self-immolation are provided by describing cultural factors associated with the rise in the frequency of the act in several countries. A recent psychological theory of suicide is also identified and its relevance to the understanding of self-immolation is discussed. In addition, interventions to reduce self-immolation are identified, and issues associated with treatment strategies and outcomes for survivors of self-immolation attempts are discussed. The chapter will focus on deliberate self-immolation as a means of suicide, as opposed to accidental self-inflicted bums or non-fatal self-harm by burning, which are beyond the scope of this discussion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe psychology of arson
Subtitle of host publicationA practical guide to understanding and managing deliberate firesetters
EditorsR M Doley, G L Dickens, T A Gannon
Place of PublicationUnited States, United Kingdom
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9780415810685
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Suicide by self-immolation: Causal and contributing factors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this