Send to

Choose Destination
Psychiatry Res. 2015 Sep 30;229(1-2):143-7. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2015.07.055. Epub 2015 Jul 20.

Provocative work experiences predict the acquired capability for suicide in physicians.

Author information

Department of Psychology, Penn State Harrisburg, Middletown, PA, USA.


The interpersonal psychological theory of suicidal behavior (IPTS) offers a potential means to explain suicide in physicians. The IPTS posits three necessary and sufficient precursors to death by suicide: thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness, and acquired capability. The present study sought to examine whether provocative work experiences unique to physicians (e.g., placing sutures, withdrawing life support) would predict levels of acquired capability, while controlling for gender and painful and provocative experiences outside the work environment. Data were obtained from 376 of 7723 recruited physicians. Study measures included the Acquired Capability for Suicide Scale, the Interpersonal Needs Questionnaire, the Painful and Provocative Events Scale, and the Life Events Scale-Medical Doctors Version. Painful and provocative events outside of work predicted acquired capability (β=0.23, t=3.82, p<0.001, f(2)=0.09) as did provocative work experiences (β=0.12, t=2.05, p<0.05, f(2)=0.07). This represents the first study assessing the potential impact of unique work experiences on suicidality in physicians. Limitations include over-representation of Caucasian participants, limited representation from various specialties of medicine, and lack of information regarding individual differences.


Acquired capability; Interpersonal psychological theory; Physician well-being; Suicidality

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center