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A comparison of first time and repeat intentional self-poisoning patients


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Driscoll, Carolyn 2002 , 'A comparison of first time and repeat intentional self-poisoning patients', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Identifying the characteristics associated with those who make repeat suicide
attempts by intentional self-poisoning is important for improving treatments and
reducing the risk of further attempts and completed suicide. Limited previous
research has been conducted examining this group, typically focussing on
demographic and psychopathological characteristics and overlooking some important
cognitive-behavioural factors and psychophysiology. In addition, the research has
primarily focussed on restricted samples such as psychiatric inpatients and has lacked
a consistent definition of the concept of repetition. The present research takes a
process-based approach by comparing a first attempt group with a repeat attempt
group and a community control group with the aim of developing a profile of those
who repeat in a clinical adult sample. The first two studies in this research develop
descriptive and cognitive-behavioural profiles with the results indicating similarity
between the first time and repeat groups. However, the repeat group was
differentiated from the first time group by more severe symptomatology, less
impulsiveness in taking the overdose, and a greater likelihood of reporting tension
reduction reasons for the overdose. In addition, the repeat group experienced
significantly greater levels of hopelessness and reported poorer perceived problem
solving skills and severely impaired coping resources. The third study extended this
profile by examining the psychophysiological and subjective experience of the
overdose using guided imagery. The results indicated that the first time and repeat
groups demonstrated almost identical psychophysiological and subjective
experiences during the process of taking the overdose which reflected a tension
reduction pattern. It was concluded from this research that the differences between
the first time and repeat groups appear to be quantitative rather than qualitative with
the repeat group reflecting more severe symptomatology and cognitive-behavioural
impairments, supporting a process approach to suicidal behaviours s. It is not clear
from this research if the differential characteristics of the repeat group are
vulnerabilities present before the first suicide attempt or represent a deterioration of
these factors over time and with subsequent attempts. Future research would benefit
from examining a sample of first suicide attempt patients longitudinally to elaborate
the processes associated with the differential variables identified in this research.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Driscoll, Carolyn
Keywords: Suicide, Self-poisoning, Suicidal behavior
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2002 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, 2002. Includes bibliographical references

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