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Thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness in suicide notes
Background: Joiner’s interpersonal theory of suicide postulates that suicide occurs because of thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness, combined with a capability for committing suicide.
Aims: The present study examines the frequency of the presence of the themes of thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness in suicide notes.
Methods: A total of 261 suicide notes from 1091 consecutive completed suicides in Tasmania were rated for the presence of thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness. Results: Contrary to the theory, few suicide notes were found to include perceived burdensomeness (10.3%) and thwarted belongingness (30.7%), and only 4.2% had both themes. The notes of women more often contained the theme of perceived burdensomeness, while the notes of younger suicides more often contained the theme of thwarted belongingness.Conclusions: Joiner’s theory of suicide may apply to only a small percentage of suicides who leave suicide notes.
Department/SchoolSchool of Psychological Sciences
Place of publicationUnited States
Rights statementCopyright 2012 Hogrefe Publishing