PurposeThe interpersonal theory of suicide proposes that fearlessness about death, one aspect of the capability for suicide, may explain men’s greater risk for death by suicide. The purpose of this paper is to examine whether violence perpetration and victimization would mediate the relation of gender with fearlessness about death in suicidal psychiatric inpatients.Design/methodology/approachThe current study used a cross-sectional survey design in a sample of 196 psychiatric inpatients admitted for suicide risk.FindingsMen endorsed greater fearlessness about death compared to women. The relation of gender with fearlessness about death was partially mediated by violence perpetration, but not victimization. Violence perpetration may play a more central role in the development of fearlessness about death, the capability for suicide, and the transition from suicide ideation to action compared to violence victimization.Research limitations/implicationsThe current study was cross-sectional and not able to definitively answer questions about the development of the capability for suicide. Future research must examine how fearlessness about death evolves over time.Practical implicationsSuicide risk assessment should include history of violence perpetration, as this may better identify those who may be at greater risk for suicide due to greater fearlessness about death.Originality/valueThe current study adds to the growing literature that aims to understand variables that explain the transition from suicide ideation to action.
Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 9, 2018
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