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Reducing potential risk factors for suicide-related behavior with a group intervention for clients with recurrent suicide-related behavior

Yvonne Bergmans, MSW, RSW

Suicide intervention consultant, Suicide Studies Unit, Arthur Sommer Rotenberg Chair in Suicide Studies, St. Michael’s Hospital University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Paul S. Links, MD, FRCP(C)

Chair, Arthur Sommer Rotenberg Chair in Suicide Studies, St. Michael’s Hospital University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

BACKGROUND: This paper reports the results of a pilot study of a 20-week outpatient Psychosocial/Psychoeducational Intervention for Persons with Recurrent Suicide Attempts (PISA) targeting potential risk factors and areas of deficit, including cognitive, affective, and impulsivity known to characterize persons with recurrent suicide-related behavior.

METHODS: One hundred sixty-three persons completed the 20-week intervention. Self-report questionnaires related to psychological deficits and risk factors associated with suicide-related behavior were given to participants before and after the intervention. Descriptive and paired t tests were performed using SPSS 15.

RESULTS: This pilot study demonstrated that a 20-week group intervention led to significant pregroup and postgroup reductions in the risk factors associated with suicide-related behavior. Risk factors included cognitive factors: Beck Hopelessness Scale (P=.006), Satisfaction With Life Scale (P=.001), Problem Solving Inventory (P=.008); affective factors: Beck Depression Inventory (P=.018), Toronto Alexithymia Scale (P=.001); and impulsivity factors: Barratt Impulsivity Scale (P=.034).

CONCLUSIONS: Findings in this pilot study suggest that participants in this short-term intervention report changes in identified risk factors and psychological deficits. These modest changes may be an important first step that facilitates persons at high-risk for suicide to access additional mental health services.

KEYWORDS: recurrent suicide-related behavior, intervention, deficits, risk factors

ANNALS OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY 2009;21(1):17–25

CORRESPONDENCE: Yvonne Bergmans, MSW, RSW, 30 Bond Street, 2 Shuter Wing 2-010C, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5B 1W8. E-MAIL: BERGMANSY@smh.toronto.on.ca
Annals of Clinical Psychiatry ©2009 American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists

 
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