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

Yvonne Bergmans, Paul S Links
Annals of Clinical Psychiatry: Official Journal of the American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists 2009, 21 (1): 17-25

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.

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