Year: 2022 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2022), 52(3), 490-499. SIEC No: 20221159
Introduction Suicide is a leading cause of death. One challenge to prevention efforts is the wide phenomenological heterogeneity in suicidal urges, thoughts, and behaviors across individuals at risk. Despite this heterogeneity, most suicide research estimates group-level effects by averaging across people as if they were the same, preventing detection of person-specific factors that may modulate risk and be key to effective prevention. The goal of the present study is to illustrate the idiographic (i.e., person-specific) approach and highlight its utility for suicide research. Methods We implemented a case series approach using three cases from a subset of psychiatrically hospitalized adolescents who provided intensive longitudinal data on daily urges and coping behavior after discharge following a suicide attempt. For illustration, person-specific, bidirectional links between suicidal urges and coping behavior were modeled across a series of cases using a vector autoregression approach. Results The relationship between suicidal urges and coping differed across the three individuals, who were presented to exhibit the range of this variability in the presence/absence and magnitude of effects. Conclusions Individuals who report similar suicidal risk levels likely respond in individualized ways to suicidal urges (e.g., use different coping strategies), necessitating personalized assessment and treatment. We discuss implications for future suicide research.