Coping and suicide risk in high risk psychiatric patients

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Background: A dysfunctional use of coping strategies has repeatedly been linked to suicidal behaviour in non-psychiatric populations. However, data regarding association between coping strategies and suicidal behaviour in psychiatric populations are limited. Aims: The aim of the study was to investigate the possible relationship between self-reported suicide risk, suicidal ideation and coping strategies in three psychiatric cohorts. Method: Three cohorts of psychiatric patients were involved in the study; recent suicide attempters (n = 55), suicide attempters at follow-up 12 years after a suicide attempt (n = 38) and patients with ongoing depression without attempted suicide (n = 72). Patients filled in the self-rating version of The Suicide Assessment Scale (SUAS-S) from which items no. 17–20 addressing current suicidal ideation were extracted. To investigate coping strategies, the Coping Orientation of Problem Experience Inventory (COPE) was used. Results: In all cohorts, regression analyses showed that only avoidant coping was significantly correlated with the scores of SUAS-S adjusted for covariates. The items no. 17–20 correlated significantly to avoidant coping but not with other coping strategies in all cohorts. Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that among coping strategies only avoidant coping may be associated with suicide risk in psychiatric patients independently of history of attempted suicide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-32
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number1
Early online date2017 Dec 20
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychiatry


  • attempted suicide
  • avoidant coping
  • Coping
  • suicide risk


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