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Suicidal Behaviour

von: Diego De Leo et al. (Ed.)

Hogrefe Publishing, 2004

ISBN: 9781616762674 , 337 Seiten

Format: PDF, OL

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Suicidal Behaviour


 

Terminology (p. 68-69)

A review of the suicidological research literature shows that the concepts motive, reason, aim, purpose, and intention are employed somewhat inconsistently and confusingly in this field. The following are some examples.

Birtchnell and Alarcon (1971) employed the terms "intentions" and "motivations" for attempting suicide without differentiating between the concepts. As an example of a motive/intention of attempted suicide they suggested "frighten or get your own back on someone." Bancroft and co-workers (1976, 1979) used the terms "reasons" and "motives" of the suicidal act,meaning, for instance, seeking help from someone, escaping for a while from an impossible situation or a terrible state of mind, or influencing someone to change their mind. Hawton and colleagues (1982) and James and Hawton (1985) employed the terms "motivational aspects" of, and "reasons" for self-poisoning, and by that meant the same as Bancroft and co-workers (1979). They also used the term "suicidal intent" meaning whether the patients had wanted to die or not. Michel and colleagues (1994) used the term "motives for attempting suicide," meaning, for instance, "I wanted to get help from someone" and "I wanted to persuade someone to change his/her mind."

Lukianowicz (1972) juxtaposed "motives" with "aims," i.e., something in the future that patients had wanted to achieve by the suicidal act. However, under the term "motives" he also listed marital problems and mental illness, i.e., factors leading up to the suicidal behaviour.Kovacs and co-workers (1975) categorised various reasons into the item "purpose of the attempt" from the Suicide Intent Scale (SIS; Beck et al., 1974). This contains the categories (a) to manipulate others, to effect a change in the environment, to get attention, revenge, (b) components of a and c, and (c) to escape from life, to seek surcease; an irreversible solution to problems. Velamoor and Cernovsky (1992) used both the terms "motive to die" or "not to die" and "intent to die" or "not to die."Hettiarachchi and Kodituwakku (1989) used the term "motive"meaning, for instance, wishing to die or to manipulate a situation.

As can be seen from this brief summary, a certain amount of disagreement and confusion reigns within this research field with regard to the use of such basic concepts as reason, motive and intention. They are most often (almost always) used as synonyms regarding something the patient wanted to happen in the future, something they wanted to achieve by their act, e.g., to influence someone to change their mind, to get help, to escape from life temporarily, to die, etc. Moreover, the term suicidal intent is employed when the extent to which a person wanted to die is assessed. This inconsistency is probably due to inherent different paradigmatic bases. Failure to discuss such paradigmatic differences leads to rather diffuse employment of these terms. Since searching for answers to the question of why some people engage in nonfatal suicidal behaviour is a central issue in research in this area, clarification of terminology is important.