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.
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