Year: 2009 Source: Archives of Suicide Research, v.13, no.1, (2009), p.1-14 SIEC No: 20090337

Physicians and medical trainees (medical students and residents) are at increased risk for suicidal ideation. Yet few conceptual models have attempted to explain the elevated rates of suicide among physicians, and very little is known about what factors contribute to medical trainees’ suicidal ideation and behaviors. In this paper, Joiner’s (2005 ) interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidality will be explored as it applies to suicidal ideation and behavior among physicians and medical trainees. Literature addressing each component of the theory will be reviewed. Drawing upon extant data, each dimension of the theory (burden, thwarted belongingness, and acquired ability) will be examined in depth in terms of its applicability to suicidal thinking and behavior among physicians and physicians-in-training. Findings from the literature provide support for the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidality as applied to this population.