Year: 2017 Source: Crisis.(2016).37(4):299-309. DOI: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000386 SIEC No: 20170006

Suicidal behavior comprises a diverse set of behaviors with significant differences among several behavioral categories. One noteworthy category includes individuals who have made serious suicide attempts, epidemiologically very similar to those completing suicide. This behavioral category is important, since interviewing survivors of a potentially lethal incident of self-harm enables a detailed investigation of the psychological process leading to the suicidal act. Aim: To achieve a consensus definition and operational criteria of serious suicide attempts. Method: We reviewed studies that included the term serious suicide attempt or related terms (e.g., highly lethal), with a focus on the variety of operational criteria employed across studies. Results: More than 60 papers addressing various types of serious suicide attempt were explored. We found a large variety of operational definitions, reflecting the lack of consensus regarding terminology and criteria related to the term. Conclusion: We undertook the challenge of developing an integrative and comprehensive set of criteria of serious suicide attempt and suggest a definition comprising three key dimensions: medical lethality, potential lethality of the method used, and severity of the objective circumstances of the suicide intent. Clinicians and researchers are strongly encouraged to consider using the term serious suicide attempt with its attendant components.

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