Suicidal and Deliberate Self-Harm Ideation Among Patients with Physical Illness: The Role of Coping Styles


University of Primorska, Titov trg 4, 6000 Koper, Slovenia; E-mail:


The relationship between coping styles and suicidal ideation (SI) or deliberate self-harm (DSH) ideation among patients with physical illness was examined. Four hundred fifteen adult male medical inpatients completed the Coping Styles Questionnaire. Patients with and without SI, and with and without DSH, were compared on coping styles. Sixteen percent of patients (n = 67) had SI and 18.3% (n = 76) had DSH. SI was associated with higher scores on emotional coping and lower scores on rational and detachment coping styles, compared with those without SI. DSH, compared with those without DSH, was associated with significantly higher scores on avoidance coping strategies. These data suggest coping styles among medical patients with and without SI or DSH may differ. The mechanism of this link is not entirely clear, but it may be that coping styles reflect one possible pathway of the association between poor physical health and SI and DSH. Replication of these results in a longitudinal study is needed. If replicated, incorporation of these data into the development of intervention strategies focused on improving coping strategies may be worthwhile.