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Przegl Lek. 2005;62(6):415-8.

The characteristics of suicide attempts based on the suicidal intent scale scores.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Toxicology, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Kraków, Poland.


The aim of the work was to present the characteristics of suicide attempts, distinguished on the basis of the scores in the Suicidal Intent Scale questionnaire (SIS), created by Aaron Beck, professor of psychiatry from Philadelphia. The group examined comprised 238 patients (63 males and 175 females) hospitalised in the Department of Clinical Toxicology CMUJ in Kraków in the years 2000-2001, after a suicidal self-intoxication with xenobiotics. The examination was conducted by means of the Suicidal Intent Scale (SIS)--a psychological test created by Aaron Beck. In the case of about 65% of the patients examined, their suicide attempts most frequently were acts of impulsive behaviour, rarely planned for longer than three hours before the realization and usually made in another person's presence or in a situation in which another person's intervention was highly probable. Such attempts had the character of "a cry for help", and were aimed at effecting some change or at manipulating the environment. Nevertheless, the patients acted in a conviction that their act was a serious attempt at ending life, and, most frequently, they maintained such opinions during the examination. On the other hand, they rarely expressed further suicidal intents, and more frequently accepted the fact that their lives had been saved. By contrast, the remaining 35% of the patients examined had attempted suicide with the evident intention to kill themselves; they had taken full precautions against being discovered and had planned suicide carefully to eliminate the smallest possibility of intervention. In the majority of cases, they still maintained the wish to die after the attempt. As the results of the examination indicate, the Suicidal Intent Scale, and, especially, the Precautions subscale, point at the important aspect of suicidal intentions, which, being of vital importance for the diagnostic purposes and suicide prevention, requires further investigation.

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