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The internal suicide debate hypothesis: exploring the life versus death struggle


Harris, KM and McLean, JP and Sheffield, J and Jobes, D, The internal suicide debate hypothesis: exploring the life versus death struggle, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 40, (2) pp. 181-92. ISSN 0363-0234 (2010) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2010 The American Association of Suicidology

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DOI: doi:10.1521/suli.2010.40.2.181


Researchers and theorists (e.g., Shneidman, Stengel, Kovacs, and Beck) hyothesized that suicidal people engage in an internal debate, or struggle, over whether to live or die, but few studies have tested its tenability. This study introduces direct assessment of a suicidal debate, revealing new aspects of suicidal ideation. Results, from an online survey (N = 1,016), showed nearly all suicide-risk respondents engaged in the debate. In addition, debate frequency accounted for 54% of the variance in suicidality scores, and showed significant associations with other indicators of suicide risk. Likely factors of the debate, reasons for living and dying, showed significant differences by suicidality, and most suicide-risk participants reported going online for such purposes, demonstrating a behavioral component of the debate.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:adolescent adult aged article death decision making female human Internet male middle aged psychological aspect psychological model regression analysis risk suicide thinking Humans Models, Psychological Young Adult
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Biological psychology
Research Field:Behavioural neuroscience
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Mental health services
UTAS Author:Harris, KM (Dr Keith Harris)
ID Code:110313
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:46
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2016-07-24
Last Modified:2017-04-20

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