The role of clinical and social cognitive variables in parasuicide
Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
2006 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Clinical Psychology
Volume 45, Issue 4, pages 465–481, November 2006
How to Cite
O'Connor, R. C., Armitage, C. J. and Gray, L. (2006), The role of clinical and social cognitive variables in parasuicide. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45: 465–481. doi: 10.1348/014466505X82315
- Issue published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Received 26 January 2005; revised version received 10 October 2005
Objectives The central aim of the present study was to investigate the extent to which social cognitive variables could mediate the effects of past self-harm behaviour and clinical variables on intentions to engage in deliberate self-harm (DSH) and suicidality in the next three months. In addition, we aimed to extend the application of the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) beyond distal health outcomes to a behaviour that is proximal and extreme.
Design and method A prospective study design was employed. Ninety parasuicide patients admitted via accident and emergency to a general hospital completed measures of hopelessness, depression, anxiety, past self-harm behaviour, standard TPB and group identity measures within days of an overdose. Three months later, participants were asked to complete a measure of suicidal thinking and behaviour.
Results There was clear evidence that the social cognitive variables were significant predictors of intention to engage in DSH and suicidality three months later. Depression was the only clinical variable which remained significant when all variables were entered into the final model to predict intentions. Attitudes, self-efficacy and intention mediated the clinical variables-suicidality relationship.
Conclusions The TPB is a useful framework for understanding suicidal behaviour. The results extend the application of the TPB beyond distal health outcomes to a behaviour that is both proximal and extreme. Future research should explore the implications for screening assessment and suicide prevention.