Life events and psychopathology in a group of suicide attempters

Psychopathology. 2004 Jan-Feb;37(1):36-40. doi: 10.1159/000077018. Epub 2004 Feb 24.


Researchers examined the incidence of negative life events and associated these events with psychological scales (depression, hopelessness, self-esteem and state-trait anger) in a group of suicide attempters (n = 101) within the framework of the WHO/EURO Multicenter Study on Suicidal Behavior. Certain negative life events (especially relationship problems and physical/mental abuse in childhood) turned out to be the main indicators of severe mental problems in the family of the attempters (e.g. addiction, self-destructive behavior or psychiatric hospitalization). Significant positive correlations were found between the number of events and some psychopathological symptoms like depression, hopelessness, anger and lack of self-esteem. The role of stressful life events in suicidal behavior is emphasized. Particularly traumatic events (e.g. abuse in childhood) may be involved in the development of psychological and/or biological vulnerability (stress-diathesis model) and cognitive dysfunction. Therefore, in the psychotherapy of suicide attempters, it is essential to explore and discuss negative life events.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anger
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Depression
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Concept
  • Sex Offenses / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology