Suicidal Behaviour: A Concept Analysis

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Fan-Ko Sun, PhD1
Ann Long, PhD2
Chun-Ying Chiang, PhD1
Ching-Hsing Lin, MSc3
1Department of Nursing, I-Shou University, Yanchao Township, Taiwan
2School of Nursing, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, United Kingdom
3Nursing, Tajen University, Pingtung County, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: Learners will gain knowledge on a concept analysis of suicidal behaviour.

Learning Objective 2: Learners will be able to make a distinction between suicidal behaviour, self-mutilation and self-harm.

Purpose: The aim of this paper is to present a concept analysis of suicidal behaviour.Background. Suicide behaviour constitutes a significant global public health problem. It is difficult to make a distinction between suicidal behaviour, self-mutilation and self-harm. Evidence demonstrates that several studies have investigated a concept analysis of self-mutilation and self-harm. However, to date, no study has conducted a concept analysis of the term ‘suicidal behaviour’.
Methods: Walker and Avant’s eight-step method of concept analysis was used to examine the concept of suicidal behaviour. The eight steps are: select a concept, determine aims, identify uses, define attributes, identify model case, indentify contrary case, identify antecedents and consequences and define empirical referents. The sources for the analysis were identified by systematic search of the Medline, CINAHL, ProQuest Nursing and Allied Health Source and reference lists of related journal articles with a timeline of 1970 until 2009.
Results: Suicide behaviour concerns people who suffer from both external hazards and internal crisis simultaneously and cannot cope with their current suffering. There is an absence of ‘significant others’ in their life. Suicidal intent transpires because they believe that suicide is the best solution to their problem of living. The antecedents of suicidal behaviour are vulnerability characteristics that result mainly from experiencing unbearably painful life events. The consequences of suicidal behaviour are death or suicide fails but with serious medical consequences. Two main differences emerge between suicide, self-mutilation and self-harm: (1) people who attempt suicide want to die while those who self-mutilate or self-harm do not want to die. (2) suicide implies a degree of self-destruction more severe than self-mutilation or self-harm.
Conclusion: This concept analysis of suicidal behaviour offers nurses an understanding of the factors that contribute to suicidal behaviour consequently, it has the ability to advance nurses’ qualities and skills when caring for suicidal patients.