University Of Tasmania

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Suicide in Doctor Zhivago

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-22, 03:34 authored by Pridmore, W, Saxby PridmoreSaxby Pridmore

Background: The belief that all suicide is the result of mental disorder continues to be strongly held.

Aim: To examine Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak for evidence of the triggers of suicide in Russia in the first half of the 20th century.

Method: We examined this text, noting examples of, 1) suicide, 2) attempted suicide, and 3) other mentions of suicide.

Results: We found 3 examples of suicide, 1 example of attempted suicide, and 5 examples of other mentions of suicide. The triggers included loss of status, honour, fortune, child and lover. There was no example of suicide as the result of mental disorder.

Discussion/Conclusion: The triggers of suicide in Russia in the first half of the 20th century are similar to those across the time and place of history and are frequently triggered by social, political and economic problems.


Publication title

Dynamics of Human Health






Tasmanian School of Medicine


The Good Life Research Centre Trust

Place of publication


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Mental health

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