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Keywords:

  • risk assessment;
  • stress and coping;
  • suicidal behaviour

Accessible summary

  • • 
    A primary aim of suicide research is to gain a profound knowledge of the suicidal individual so preventive strategy can be formulated.
  • • 
    Time-geographic life charting used in combination with the pattern of coping strategies may be helpful when assessing risk of suicidal behaviour.
  • • 
    It can also be a therapeutic intervention to look back and to reflect coping styles.

Abstract

The aim of this study is to explore whether a time-geographic life charting, combined with a survey of a person's coping capacities over time, elucidates the pathway to suicidal behaviour, and therefore could be useful in suicide prevention. Twenty-three patients were recruited shortly after a suicide attempt. A time-geographic life charting and COPE inventory ratings were used separately and in combination. According to COPE ratings, the participants could be divided into three groups using different coping strategies: (1) adaptive, (2) maladaptive, and (3) both adaptive and maladaptive coping. Within these subgroups, three different pathways to suicidal behaviour were described and illustrated. We conclude that time-geographic life charting used in combination with the pattern of coping strategies may be helpful when assessing risk of suicidal behaviour, because this approach strengthens the comprehensive picture of the patient's life situation.