From psychological strain to disconnectedness: A two-factor model theory of suicide

This editorial asserts that neither Durkheim’s social integration theory nor Joiner’s interpersonal theory explains the cause of suicide. Instead, the theories illustrate the facilitations of suicide or of the immune system against suicide. The theories might account for the conditions that are sufficient for suicide, but we still need to find the condition that is […]

Three evolutionary theories of suicide and their irrelevance for individual suicides in modern society

Three evolutionary theories of suicide that have been proposed (Bargaining, Inclusive Fitness and Costly Apology) were applied to a sample of suicide notes from completed and attempted suicides. The variables comprising these three theories were rarely present in the suicide notes, suggesting the inadequacy of these theories for understanding individual suicides in the modern world.

A direct comparison of theory-driven and machine learning prediction of suicide: A meta-analysis

Theoretically-driven models of suicide have long guided suicidology; however, an approach employing machine learning models has recently emerged in the field. Some have suggested that machine learning models yield improved prediction as compared to theoretical approaches, but to date, this has not been investigated in a systematic manner. The present work directly compares widely researched […]

Saving lives: A systematic review on the efficacy of theory‑informed suicide prevention programs

Suicide is a global epidemic. This review assessed the scope and effectiveness of suicide prevention programs. Systematic literature searches were conducted using PsycINFO, ERIC and MEDLINE to retrieve articles published between January 2007 and March 2017 and fulfilled inclusion criteria (studies evaluating the efficacy of theory/model-informed suicide prevention programs in increasing participant knowledge or skills […]

Testing the integrated motivational-volitional model of suicidal behavior in Chinese adolescents

The integrated motivational-volitional model of suicidal behavior (IMV; O’Connor & Kirtley, 2018) integrates some key factors of suicidal behavior (e.g., defeat and entrapment) to explain the development of suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts. This study aimed to empirically test this model in a sample of Chinese adolescents. A number of 1,239 Chinese adolescents (679 girls; Mage = 14.07, SD = 1.54) […]

Suicidism: A new theoretical framework to conceptualize suicide from an anti-oppressive perspective

Anchored in queer and crip perspectives, this essay proposes the neologism “suicidism” as a new theoretical framework to conceptualize the oppressive system in which suicidal people experience forms of injustice and violence. The thesis proposed here is that suicidal people suffer both individually and collectively from suicidist violence, an oppression that remains unproblematized in all […]

Testing the strain theory of suicide: The moderating role of social suppport

Abstract. Background: According to the strain theory of suicide, strains, resulting from conflicting and competing pressures in an individual’s life, are hypothesized to precede suicide. But social support is an important factor that can mitigate strains and lessen their input in suicidal behavior. Aims: This study was designed to assess the moderating role of social support in the relation […]

Advancing our understanding of the who, when, and why of suicide risk

Suicide is one of the most devastating and perplexing of all human behaviors. Whereas the mortality rate for many leading causes of death (eg, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and influenza) has declined over the past century, the suicide rate is virtually identical to what it was 100 years ago.1 Our lack of progress in suicide prevention is in […]

An empirical test of the three-step theory of suicide in U.K. university students

The purpose of this study was to further our understanding of how individuals move down the pathway from first thinking about suicide to ultimately attempting to take their own lives by empirically testing the Three-Step Theory (3ST) in a sample of university students (n = 665). Results largely support the theory’s central propositions. First, an interactive model […]

Understanding Indigenous suicide through a theoretical lens: A review of general, culturally-based, and Indigenous frameworks

Many American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities throughout North America continue to experience the devastating impact of suicide. Theoretical explanations of suicide from a psychological, sociological, cultural, and Indigenous perspective all differ in focus and applicability to AI/AN communities. These diverse theoretical frameworks and models are presented herein to examine the potential applicability, strengths, and limitations […]

The social pain model: Understanding suicide through evolutionary psychology.

Any explanation of human behavior that fails to take into consideration our evolutionary history is an explanation that can, at best, only answer part of the question. The following work attempts to illuminate a complex and often misunderstood behavior: suicide. In a letter to Robert Hooke, Sir Isaac Newton remarked, “if I have seen further, it […]

Ideation-to-action theories of suicide: A conceptual and empirical update.

Highlights Several ‘ideation-to-action’ theories of suicide have been published since 2005. These theories meaningfully advance understanding of suicide. Pain and hopelessness are important motivators of suicidal ideation. Capability for suicide facilitates progression from suicide ideation to attempts. Evidence-based aspects of ideation-to-action theories can guide prevention.

Suicidal behaviour: Theories and research findings.

A practical handbook for all those concerned with the prevention of suicide, this book is unique in that it is based on the wealth of experience gained over many years in different populations during the WHO/EURO Multicenter Study onf Suicidal Behaviour. With contributions from some of the world’s best-known investigators, as well as those involved […]

A prospective examination of the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behavior among psychiatric adolescent inpatients.

The challenge of identifying suicide risk in adolescents, and particularly among high-risk subgroups such as adolescent inpatients, calls for further study of models of suicidal behavior that could meaningfully aid in the prediction of risk. This study examined how well the Interpersonal-Psychological Theory of Suicidal Behavior (IPTS), with its constructs of thwarted belongingness (TB), perceived […]

Autopsy of a suicidal mind.

Autopsy of a Suicidal Mind is a uniquely intensive psychological analysis of a suicidal mind. In this poignant scientific study, Edwin S. Shneidman, a founder of the field of suicidology, assembles an extraordinary cast of eight renowned experts to analyze the suicidal materials, including a ten-page suicide note, given to him by a distraught mother […]

Tracking a movement: U.S. milestones in suicide prevention.

Suicidology and suicide prevention are relatively new fields of study in the United States, but they have made significant progress since their beginnings. This study aimed to identify the most impactful theories in the history of science and suicidology and the most impactful events in the suicide prevention movement. These theories and events were identified […]

Invited Commentary: Body Mass Index and Suicide – Untangling an Unlikely Association

A series of prospective studies have found body mass index to be inversely associated with risk of suicide. In the progression from disturbed mental health to suicide ideation to attempted suicide & suicide, augmented by impulsivity & access to highly lethal means, there are several potential steps at which body mass index has been hypothesized […]

Adapting Dialectical Behavior Therapy to Help Suicidal Adolescents

This article reviews evidence supporting the efficacy of dialectical behaviour therapy for suicidal adolescents & describes principles of outpatient dialectical behaviour therapy for these patients as developed by Miller et al. (18 refs.) JA Contact us for a copy of this article, or view online at

Assessing the Vital Balance in Evaluating Suicidal Potential (IN: Assessment, Treatment, and Prevention of Suicidal Behavior, edited by R I Yufit & D Lester)

The discussion in this chapter uses a theoretical basis which assumes sound mental health can be represented as an equilibrium, or vital balance. The concept is modified from the writings of Menninger & incorporates the ideas of Antonovsky & his formulations for coping with stress. The Suicide Assessment Checklist, the Coping Abilities Questionnaire, & the […]

The Great Black Hope: Hope and its Relation to Suicide Risk Among African Americans

This study examines the relationship between hope & a specific theory of suicide in African Americans. It was hypothesized that: 1) hope would hegatively predict the interpersonal suicide risk factors of burdensomeness & thwarted belongingness; & positively predict acquired capability to enact suicide; 2) hope would negatively predict suicide ideation; & 3) the interpersonal suicide […]

Cultural Research in Suicidology: Challenges and Opportunities

The author first elaborates why it is important to focus on cultural issues in suicidological research & thereafter discusses what it actually means to have a cultural focus/perspective on the research. Some of the challenges, as well as opportunities, are then discussed. The main focus is, however, on challenges & these are conceptual, theoretical, methodological, […]

Suicide Prevention in Schools as Viewed Through the Interpersonal-Psychological Theory of Suicidal Behavior

In this commentary, the author briefly describes his interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behaviour & argues that the theory’s constructs may allow a new level of focus & specificity for suicide prevention in general & for school-based suicide prevention in particular. In doing so, he discusses findings & concepts from other articles in this issue of […]

Voice Therapy: a Treatment for Depression and Suicide (IN: Assessment, Treatment, and Prevention of Suicidal Behavior, edited by R I Yufit & D Lester)

In this chapter, the author first discusses R. Firestone’s overall theoretical approach of separation theory, including the fantasy bond, or self-parenting process, & the voice process. Second, the steps in voice therapy, a cognitive/affective/behavioral treatment, are described. Finally, a hypothetical session is presented to illustrate this methodology as applied in the treatment of an individual […]