suicide education theory
Thomas Joiner grew up in Georgia, went to college at Princeton, and received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. He is Distinguished Research Professor and The Bright-Burton Professor in the Department of Psychology at Florida State University. Dr. Joiner’s work is on the psychology, neurobiology, and treatment of suicidal behavior and related conditions. Author of over 385 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Joiner was recently awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Shneidman Award for excellence in suicide research from the American Association of Suicidology, and the Award for Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contributions from the American Psychological Association, as well as research grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and various foundations. Dr. Joiner is editor of the American Psychological Association’s Clinician’s Research Digest, editor of the Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior, and he has authored or edited fifteen books, including Why People Die By Suicide, published in 2005 by Harvard University Press. He runs a part-time clinical and consulting practice specializing in suicidal behavior, including legal consultation on suits involving death by suicide. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife and two sons.
Joiner, T.E. (2005). Why people die by suicide. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Two leading theories within the field of suicide prevention are the interpersonal psychological theory of suicidal behaviour (IPT) and the integrated motivational-volitional (IMV) model. The IPT posits that suicidal thoughts emerge from high levels of perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness. The IMV model is a multivariate framework that conceptualizes defeat and entrapment as key drivers of suicide ideation. We applied network analysis to cross-sectional data collected as part of the Scottish Wellbeing Study, in which a nationally representative sample of 3508 young adults (18–34 years) completed a battery of psychological measures. Network analysis can help us to understand how the different theoretical components interact and how they relate to suicide ideation. Within a network that included only the core factors from both models, internal entrapment and perceived burdensomeness were most strongly related to suicide ideation. The core constructs defeat, external entrapment and thwarted belonginess were mainly related to other factors than suicide ideation. Within the network of all available psychological factors, 12 of the 20 factors were uniquely related to suicide ideation, with perceived burdensomeness, internal entrapment, depressive symptoms and history of suicide ideation explaining the most variance. None of the factors was isolated, and we identified four larger clusters: mental wellbeing, interpersonal needs, personality, and suicide-related factors. Overall, the results suggest that relationships between suicide ideation and psychological risk factors are complex, with some factors contributing direct risk, and others having indirect impact.
12 of the 20 psychological factors were uniquely related to suicide ideation.
- Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors (Promising)
- Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs about Mental Health (Promising)
- Receipt of Mental Health and/or Substance Use Treatment (Ineffective)
- Social Competence Related to Help-Seeking (specifically, seeking help when feeling depressed or suicidal) (Ineffective)
Designation as a “Program with Evidence of Effectiveness”
Using culturally competent approaches is another important key to success. One challenge is that many evidence-based programs for suicide prevention have not been assessed in diverse populations, so their effectiveness with these populations is not known. When implementing an evidence-based program that was evaluated with a population different from the one your program will be targeting, consider doing a small pilot test first.
Examples include: 2
j. Those in prison and police custody