Year: 2023 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2023), 53(4), 680-691. DOI: SIEC No: 20231832

Background: Suicide-loss survivors (SLSs) are recognized as an at-risk population for several mental health complications, including complicated grief (CG) and depression. Recent studies have emphasized the contribution of interpersonal factors as well as suicide-related shame and guilt as facilitators of CG and depression among SLSs. In this 6 year longitudinal design study, we examined interpersonal variables as predictors of CG and depression, with suicide-related guilt and shame as mediators.

Method: Participants were 152 SLSs aged 18–70 who completed questionnaires assessing thwarted belongingness, self-disclosure, and social support at index measurement (T1); suicide-related shame and guilt and CG and depression were assessed 6 years later (T2).

Results: The integrated model revealed that the interpersonal factors of social support and self-disclosure at T1 significantly and negatively predict CG and depression (respectively) at T2. Thwarted belongingness was found to significantly and positively predict both CG and depression through the mediation of suicide-related shame levels.

Conclusion: The findings highlight the critical role of interpersonal factors in facilitating CG and depression among SLSs. Theoretical implications relating to healing processes are discussed, as well as focused clinical recommendations, including psychoeducational interventions for addressing interpersonal difficulties and suicide-related shame in the aftermath of suicide loss.