Physicians are commonly reported to die by suicide more frequently than individuals in the general population. Thus far, few reasons for this elevated suicide risk have been empirically investigated. Although the interpersonal psychological theory of suicidal behavior (IPTS) has been suggested as a fruitful means of explaining physician suicidality, it has yet to be examined quantitatively. Four hundred nineteen Pennsylvania physicians were assessed on a number of demographics, as well as all components of the IPTS. Findings indicated that physician scores on IPTS components are comparable to other groups displaying increased suicidality (e.g., military populations, prior attempters). Perceived burdensomeness was a significant predictor of suicidal ideation, while thwarted belongingness predicted prior suicide attempts. Acquired capability did not distinguish between prior attempters and nonattempters. Preliminary findings indicate the IPTS may be a useful framework for understanding and predicting physician suicidality.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health