The study was supported in part by grants to the first author from the National Institute of Mental Health (MH-51342) and the William T. Grant Foundation, and a Catholic University of America institutional grant to the third author.
Mental Health Professionals' Determinations of Adolescent Suicide Attempts
Version of Record online: 6 JAN 2011
2002 The American Association for Suicidology
Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Volume 32, Issue 3, pages 284–300, Fall 2002
How to Cite
Wagner, B. M., Wong, S. A. and Jobes, D. A. (2002), Mental Health Professionals' Determinations of Adolescent Suicide Attempts. Suicide and Life-Threat Behavi, 32: 284–300. doi: 10.1521/suli.32.3.284.22178
- Issue online: 6 JAN 2011
- Version of Record online: 6 JAN 2011
- Manuscript Received: June 15, 2001 Revision Accepted: January 29, 2002
The degree of ambiguity in the term suicide attempt was examined among 14 expert suicidologists, and 59 general mental health clinicians who either did or did not receive a standard definition of the term. The participants judged whether each of ten vignettes of actual adolescent self-harm behaviors was a suicide attempt. Low levels of agreement were found within each group, although agreement was better for the most and least serious cases. Possible explanations were examined, including how professionals weight suicidal intent and medical lethality in their suicide attempt decisions, and the use of a “fuzzy,” natural language conceptualization of suicide attempts was proposed.