Understanding and Modifying Risk of Suicide

Death by suicide arises from a thwarted sense of belongingness and the perception of being a burden on others.  When combined, the person thinks about suicide but must acquire the capability. Professor Page has been leading a team at UWA and Perth Clinic to develop a symptom monitoring system to enhance the temporal resolution of the evaluation of suicidal ideation to better understand the dynamic nature of suicidal risk.  They are also using experimental paradigms to clarify factors that increase and decrease suicidal risk, so they can design and implement programs to address the risk.

According to the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide (Joiner, 2007; van Orden et al., 2010) death by suicide is a product of a thwarted sense of belongingness combined with the perception of being a burden on others.  When combined, the person begins to think about suicide but must acquire the capability.  The research group led by Professor Page is using this and other theories to investigate the risk of suicide.  Working in hospital settings they have been examining the predictors of self-harm and suicide.  They have been developing a symptom monitoring system to enhance the temporal resolution of the evaluation of suicidal ideation so that we can better understand the dynamic nature of suicidal risk (Dyer et al., 2014).  In laboratory settings the team has been developing an experimental model to investigate the key parameters in the Interpersonal Theory.  The research group is keen to build on these foundations by using growth mixture modelling to understand the different trajectories of suicidal ideation and the predictors and consequences of being in these different groups.  The team is also looking to use the experimental paradigm they have been developing to clarify the factors that increase and decrease suicidal risk, so that they can design and implement programs to address the risk.