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Thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness in suicide notes

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 18:28 authored by Gunn III, JF, Lester, D, Haines, J, Williams, CL

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.

History

Publication title

Crisis

Volume

33

Pagination

178-181

ISSN

0227-5910

Department/School

School of Psychological Sciences

Publisher

Hogrefe Publishing

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2012 Hogrefe Publishing

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in psychology

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