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An Inquiry into Relationship Suicides and Reciprocity


Davis, MS and Callanan, VJ and Lester, D and Haines, J, An Inquiry into Relationship Suicides and Reciprocity, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior: The Official Journal of The American Association of Suicidology, 39, (5) pp. 482-498. ISSN 0363-0234 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1521/suli.2009.39.5.482


Few theories on suicide have been grounded in the norm of reciprocity. There is literature on suicide, however, describing motivations such as retaliation and retreat which can be interpreted as modes of adaptation to the norm of reciprocity. We propose a reciprocity-based theory to explain suicides associated with relationship problems. Employing a content analysis of suicide notes, we tested the theory, finding evidence of exploitation, exploiter guilt, retaliation, and retreat as motives for committing relationship-based suicide. Reciprocity-based note writers were more likely to have used alcohol or drugs in the hours prior to committing suicide, and they were also more likely to have made their intentions known beforehand. Implications for future research as well as for suicide prevention are discussed. © 2009 The American Association of Suicidology.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Clinical and health psychology
Research Field:Health psychology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Haines, J (Dr Janet Haines)
ID Code:61350
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2010-03-02
Last Modified:2010-03-26

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