Risk and protective factors

Research into risk and protective factors for suicidal behaviour and other self-harming behaviour among social groups of high suicide risk

Background

Suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviour is often associated with hopelessness, meaninglessness and despair. Some groups are particularly vulnerable:

  • Cancer patients
  • Adolescents who do not live with family (e.g. placed elsewhere, foster family)
  • Young inmates

Suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviour among cancer patients

It is uncertain how many cancer patients suffer from suicidal ideation or how many attempt to commit suicide. Suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviour is often taboo and is seldom addressed in conversations with relations and/or healthcare personnel.

In collaboration with doctors, nurses and other healthcare personnel an interview guide/questionnaire has been made which will illuminate:

  • hope, suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviour among cancer patients
  • conditions and factors that raise / promote or restrain hope

Adolescents who do not live with family

There is no research that focuses on whether adolescents who do not live with their families are at greater risk of being vulnerable, experience suicidal ideation or suicidal behaviour. The Centre for Suicide Research has gathered 14,000 questionnaires from adolescents in several Danish Regions from 2001 – 2011. In these questionnaires, it is possible to identify adolescents who have been placed in foster care, institutions or similar.

Data-analysis will illuminate:

  • vulnerability
  • serious thoughts on self-harming behaviour
  • self-harming behaviour and suicide attempts
  • conditions that protect and prevent thoughts on self-harm and self-harming actions

The objective is to contribute to the instruction of the professionals who work with the adolescents.

Inmates

The Prison and Probation Service reports that inmates belong to a group in high risk of committing suicide. During the last ten years, there has been an average of five completed suicides per year.

The State Prison in Ringe, Funen receives men and women age 14 – 23. Most men are convicted for assault or robbery, while most women are convicted for drug peddling.

With the intent of uncovering and illuminating:

  • serious thoughts on self-harming behaviour
  • self-harming behaviour and suicidal attempts
  • conditions that protect and prevent thoughts on self-harm and self-harming actions

The study will be based on interviews with inmates. Participation is voluntarily. The objective is to create research-based knowledge and to contribute to the instruction of the professionals in the Prison and Probation Service.

Status

The project is completed. Reports are published in Danish and results will be presented at national and international conferences.

The project ´was financially supported by the Ministry of Children, Gender Equality, Integration and Social Affairs.

Contact

Ph.D. Director of centre, Lillian Zoellner, lz@cfsmail.dk, Centre for Suicide Research

Udgivet den 1. June 2016