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Attempted suicide and social support


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Hart, E 1990 , 'Attempted suicide and social support', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Investigation of the role of social support in the development and
maintenance of attempted suicide has rarely gone beyond the relatively
uncontrolled clinical study. The present series of control group studies of
suicidal and non-suicidal individuals investigated the role of social support
deficits in the occurrence of attempted suicide, and documented changes
in social support after the act using well-defined measures of this variable.
An initial study comparing suicide attempters interviewed at the time of
their attempt and again six weeks later with non-suicidal controls, revealed
a range of social support deficits. However the suicidal group recorded
significant improvement on several indices of social support and a
lessening of the wish to die over the period of study.
Two further sets of analyses were performed upon this data set in order to
identify relatively homogeneous subtypes within the sample, and to study
the quality and changing status of social support for each of the subtypes.
Application of cluster analyses to demographic and background data
produced three clusters within the suicidal group, which when compared
with the non-suicidal control group, demonstrated few readily interpretable
subtype differences in social support. In a second control group study, two
suicidal subtypes formed on the basis of the existence of psychiatric
disorder, revealed different patterns of change over a follow-up period. The results of attempts to replicate these findings with a new sample which
included a non-suicidal psychiatric control group suggested that the
reported social support deficits were not unique to suicide attempters. The
occurrence of a suicide attempt rendered change in social support much
more likely, but such changes were also influenced by the presence and
nature of psychiatric disorder within the suicidal groups. The results of this
study, which found a relationship between other symptomatology,
personality measures such as self competence, and social support
variables, also raised questions regarding the nature of reported deficits.
The findings of this thesis support two directions for future research. The
first is a further investigation of the social support of the suicidal individual
and the second is study of the cognition and emotion of such
individuals. Despite the evident difficulties with a discrete, relatively
uncommon behaviour like attempted suicide, it is proposed that future
design strategies might encompass the single case experimental design or
post hoc cross-sectional study of larger samples.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Hart, E
Keywords: Suicidal behavior, Suicide
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1990 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1991. Includes bibliographical references (p. 249-303)

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