An exploratory randomised trial of a simple, brief psychological intervention to reduce subsequent suicidal ideation and behaviour in patients admitted to hospital for self-harm

Armitage, C. J., Rahim, W. A., Rowe, R. and O'Connor, R. C. (2016) An exploratory randomised trial of a simple, brief psychological intervention to reduce subsequent suicidal ideation and behaviour in patients admitted to hospital for self-harm. British Journal of Psychiatry, 208(5), pp. 470-476. (doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.114.162495) (PMID:26743808)

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Abstract

Background: Implementation intentions link triggers for self-harm with coping skills and appear to create an automatic tendency to invoke coping responses when faced with a triggering situation. Aims: To test the effectiveness of implementation intentions in reducing suicidal ideation and behaviour in a high-risk group. Method: Two hundred and twenty-six patients who had self-harmed were randomised to: (a) forming implementation intentions with a ‘volitional help sheet’; (b) self-generating implementation intentions without help; or (c) thinking about triggers and coping, but not forming implementation intentions. We measured self-reported suicidal ideation and behaviour, threats of suicide and likelihood of future suicide attempt at baseline and then again at the 3-month follow-up. Results: All suicide-related outcome measures were significantly lower at follow-up among patients forming implementation intentions compared with those in the control condition (ds>0.35). The volitional help sheet resulted in fewer suicide threats (d = 0.59) and lowered the likelihood of future suicide attempts (d = 0.29) compared with patients who self-generated implementation intentions. Conclusions: Implementation intention-based interventions, particularly when supported by a volitional help sheet, show promise in reducing future suicidal ideation and behaviour.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:O'Connor, Professor Rory
Authors: Armitage, C. J., Rahim, W. A., Rowe, R., and O'Connor, R. C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:British Journal of Psychiatry
Publisher:Royal College of Psychiatrists
ISSN:0007-1250
ISSN (Online):1472-1465
Published Online:03 May 2016

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