Stress, coping and suicide risk in a psychiatric inpatient population
Josepho, Sharon Anne
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The purpose of the present research was to identify correlates of suicide risk. Measures of stress and coping were used as predictors of suicide risk in a sample of psychiatric inpatients. Based on previous research, it was hypothesized that stress would be predictive of suicide risk. In addition, based on theoretical discussions and limited empirical research, it was hypothesized that coping methods would also contribute to level of suicidality. It was thought that some coping methods would decrease suicide risk, while others would increase this risk. It was also predicted that some stress and coping variables would interact to predict suicidality.;Seventy-one patients completed five self-report questionnaires that were shown to have adequate reliability and validity. These measures included the Suicide Risk Scale (Plutchik, van Praag, Conte and Picard, 1989), the Paykel Life Events List (Paykel et al., 1969), two subscales from the Problem Checklist (Plutchik et al., 1976) which measured interpersonal problems, the AECOM Coping Scales (Plutchik and Conte, 1989) and the Jalowiec Coping Scales (Jalowiec et al., 1984).;Findings showed that Life Events (coded for degree of "upsettingness") and Interpersonal Problems were positively related to Suicide Risk. Findings also revealed that the coping styles of Suppression and Release Emotion increased Suicide Risk. That is, individuals who cope with their problems by avoidance or by impulsive expression of emotion are at greater risk of suicide. In addition, the coping styles of Minimization and Replacement were found to decrease Suicide Risk. This indicates that individuals who are able to cognitively put their problems into perspective and to overcome shortcomings are at decreased risk of suicide.;One interaction between stress and coping was found between Interpersonal Problems and the coping method of Seeking Succorance, a regressed form of gaining help from others. This finding indicates that for those individuals experiencing a high level of Interpersonal Problems, the coping style of Seeking Succorance decreases Suicide Risk. However, for those individuals experiencing a low level of Interpersonal Problems, the coping style of Seeking Succorance increases Suicide Risk.
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