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Exposure to suicidal behaviors: A common suicide risk factor or a personal negative life event?

Harris, K ORCID: 0000-0002-1199-2856 and Bettiol, S ORCID: 0000-0002-4355-4498 2017 , 'Exposure to suicidal behaviors: A common suicide risk factor or a personal negative life event?' , International Journal of Social Psychiatry, vol. 63, no. 1 , pp. 70-77 , doi:

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Background: Numerous suicide risk factors have been proposed but not adequately validated for epidemiology,treatment and prevention efforts.Aims: Exposures to suicidal behaviors (ESB), from family and friend suicide attempts and completions, were tested forvalidity as a suicidal risk factor and also for measurement and construct adequacy.Methods: An anonymous online survey yielded 713 participants (aged 18–71), who reported ESB, completed theSuicidal Affect-Behavior-Cognition Scale (SABCS), and comprised a broad spectrum on those variables.Results: Tests of dimensionality and internal consistency showed the four ESB variables (attempts/completions throughfamily/friends) were independent and did not form a common factor or an identifiable ESB latent trait. ESB variables were,however, associated with demographic and psychiatric histories. A battery of tests revealed no meaningful associationsbetween ESB and total suicidality or suicide risk factors (social support, depression, anxiety, stress, satisfaction withlife and emotional stability). In addition, in contrast to previous reports, young adults (n=200; aged 18–20) showed noincreased suicidality due to ESB.Conclusion: Results showed no validity for ESB as a common risk factor for suicidality or other psychopathology, or asa latent trait. ESB showed evidence as a personal negative life event with individual effects and interpretations.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Harris, K and Bettiol, S
Keywords: Suicide prevention, contagion, risk factors, negative life events, risk assessment, psychopathology
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Social Psychiatry
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd
ISSN: 0020-7640
DOI / ID Number:
Copyright Information:

© The Author(s) 2016

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