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Factors that contribute to psychological resilience to suicidal thoughts and behaviours in people with schizophrenia diagnoses: qualitative study

  • Kamelia Harris (a1), Patricia Gooding (a2), Gillian Haddock (a3) and Sarah Peters (a2)

Abstract

Background

Suicide is a leading cause of premature death in people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Although exposure to stressors can play a part in the pathways to death by suicide, there is evidence that some people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia can be resilient to the impact of suicide triggers.

Aims

To investigate factors that contribute to psychological resilience to suicidal thoughts and behaviours from the perspectives of people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Method

A qualitative design was used, involving semi-structured, face-to-face interviews. Twenty individuals with non-affective psychosis or schizophrenia diagnoses who had experience of suicide thoughts and behaviours participated in the study. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and examined using inductive thematic analysis.

Results

Participants reported that psychological resilience to suicidal thoughts and behaviours involved ongoing effort. This ongoing effort encompassed: (a) understanding experiences (including reconciliation to mental health experiences and seeking reasons to live), (b) active behaviours (including talking to people and keeping occupied), and (c) relationship dynamics (including feeling supported by significant others and mental health professionals).

Conclusions

Psychological resilience was described as a dynamic process that developed over time through the experiences of psychosis and the concomitant suicidal experiences. Psychological resilience can be understood using a multicomponential, dynamic approach that integrates buffering, recovery and maintenance resilience models. In order to nurture psychological resilience, interventions should focus on supporting the understanding and management of psychosis symptoms and concomitant suicidal experiences.

Declaration of interest

None.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

Corresponding author

Correspondence: Kamelia Harris, Division of Psychology and Mental Health, School of Health Sciences, Zochonis Building, Brunswick Street, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK. Email: kamelia.harris@manchester.ac.uk

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Factors that contribute to psychological resilience to suicidal thoughts and behaviours in people with schizophrenia diagnoses: qualitative study

  • Kamelia Harris (a1), Patricia Gooding (a2), Gillian Haddock (a3) and Sarah Peters (a2)
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