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Suicidal Behavior and Difficulty of Patients, as Perceived by Community Mental Health Nurses.

BACKGROUND: Mental health professionals who work in community mental health services play an important role in treating patients after attempted suicide or deliberate self-injury. When such behaviors are interpreted negatively, patients may be seen as difficult, which may lead to ineffective treatment and mutual misunderstanding.

OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to assess the association between the grading of suicidality and perceived difficulty. We hypothesized that a higher grading of suicidality is associated with increased perceived difficulty.

METHODS: We analyzed cross-sectional data from 176 patients who participated in 2 cohort studies: 92 patients in the MATCH-cohort study and 84 patients in the Interpersonal Community Psychiatric Treatment (ICPT) study. The dependent variable was perceived difficulty, as measured by the Difficult Doctor-Patient Relationship Questionnaire (DDPRQ) and the Difficulty Single-item (DSI), a single item measuring the difficulty of the patient as perceived by the professional. Grading of suicidality was considered as the independent variable. Multiple linear and logistic regression was performed.

RESULTS: We found a significant association between perceived difficulty (DDPRQ) and high gradings of suicidality (B: 3.96; SE: 1.44; β: 0.21; P=0.006), increasing age (B: 0.09; SE: 0.03; β: 0.22; P<0.003), sex (female) (B: 2.33; SE: 0.83; β: 0.20; P=0.006), and marital status (being unmarried) (B: 1.92; SE: 0.85; β: 0.17; P=0.025). A significant association was also found between the DSI and moderate (odds ratio: 3.04; 95% CI: 1.355-6.854; P=0.007) and high (odds ratio: 7.11; 95% CI: 1.8.43-24.435; P=0.005) gradings of suicidality.

CONCLUSION: In this study, we found that perceived difficulty was significantly associated with moderate and high gradings of suicidality, increasing age, female sex, and being unmarried.

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