Protective Factors in Suicide

Several excellent theories of risk factors for suicide currently exist. Beck (1967) states that suicide is an end product of negative views of the self and the world which lead to negative views of the future. The negative view of the future, or hopelessness, in turn leads to suicide. Abramson and Alloy's (1998) Cognitive Vulnerability to Suicide implies that people with a negative attributional style for negative events (giving internal and stable attributions to negative events) are more at risk for suicide than those without the negative attributional style.

Although these risk factors (and others) have been found to significantly predict suicidiality, having one of these risk factors is not a guarantee that one will attempt or even think about suicide. In fact many people at risk do not ultimately end up in this direction. This begs the question of finding the difference between people with seemingly equal risks who attempt and consider suicide and those who do not. A major thrust of my research will be spent uncovering possible protective factors that exist in the presence of risk factors to prevent suicide.