IMR Press / JOMH / Volume 18 / Issue 9 / DOI: 10.31083/j.jomh1809188
Open Access Original Research
Gender-Specific Aspects of Suicide-Related Communication in a High Risk Sample of Psychiatric Inpatients
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1 Department of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, University of Leipzig, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
2 Mental Health Research and Treatment Center, Faculty of Psychology, Ruhr University Bochum, 44787 Bochum, Germany
3 Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Duisburg-Essen, 45141 Essen, Germany
4 Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Helios Park Hospital, 04289 Leipzig, Germany
*Correspondence: (Cora Spahn)
J. Mens. Health 2022, 18(9), 188;
Submitted: 15 February 2022 | Revised: 4 March 2022 | Accepted: 11 March 2022 | Published: 9 September 2022
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Background: In addition to help-seeking behavior in a professional context, suicide-related communication (SRC) with that discloses suicidal thoughts and plans to relatives and significant others play a major role in suicide prevention. While studies revealed gender differences in help-seeking behavior in case of suicidal thoughts and intent in a professional context, the empirical evidence on SRC and gender is limited. The present study aims to examine gender-specific aspects of prevalence, recipients, pathways, and content of SRC in a high-risk sample of psychiatric inpatients. Results may provide information for the development of gender-specific suicide prevention measures. Methods: This study considered data on SRC among individuals who had been admitted to a psychiatric ward due to suicide attempt or to an increased suicide risk and have previously attempted suicide. In this high-risk sample of 219 psychiatric inpatients (56.2% female: n = 123), SRC was assessed using the Suicide Attempt Self Injury Interview (SASII) and was analyzed with a mixed-method design. Results: There are no significant differences (Chi2 (4, n = 219) = 3.189, p = 0.074) in the frequencies of SCR between men and women. 34.4% (n = 33) of men and 46.3% (n = 57) of women reported SRC. Differences were found regarding the recipients. No differences in oral/written and explicit/implicit communication are evident. The most frequently addressed themes in SRC in men are exhaustion, resignation, and listlessness. For women, the suicide method is the most common topic, followed by the topics mentioned among men. Conclusions: A high proportion of participants reported having engaged in SRC. In contrast, the themes addressed are very ambiguous and not clearly suicide-related, especially among men. This can lead to difficulties in the interpretation of the statements by the recipients. Women seem to communicate more often with recipients who may provide assistance. These aspects ought to be considered for developing gender specific suicide prevention measures.

suicide prevention
suicide-related communication
gender differences
suicide attempt
GL 818/3-1/ German Research Society (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG)
FO 784/3-1/ German Research Society (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG)
TE 747/4-1/ German Research Society (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG)
JU 366/8-1/ German Research Society (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG)
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