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Suicide Clues From Interpersonal Communication

Jan Fawcett, MD; Melitta Leff, MSS; William E. Bunney Jr., MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;21(2):129-137. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740200001001.
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THIS STUDY suggests that increased attention to interpersonal behavior may provide a basis for more accurate recognition and more successful long-term treatment of the high risk suicidal patient. Previous studies have defined the depressed patient who falls in a high suicide risk category on the basis of clinical features of the depressive illness, history, socioeconomic profile, and the evaluation of intrapsychic factors such as dependency, guilt, and anger directed inward. Though these criteria are a part of the psychiatric clinician's everyday knowledge, their usefulness is limited by the fact that all too many patients would fall into the category of high suicide risk as defined by the above criteria. Several studies have emphasized the frequency of suicidal communications prior to suicidal behavior, pointing out that from 50% to 70% of patients who subsequently kill themselves communicate their intent in advance.1,2 A great many individuals


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