SUICIDE attempts are often associated with the actual or threatened loss of a loved person. Several investigators have studied the frequency of separation, that is, the disruption of a close interpersonal relationship, in the period preceding suicide or a suicide attempt. Dorpat and Ripley1 found that 27% of a group who completed suicide had suffered the loss of a family member by death, separation, or divorce within one year prior to the suicide. In a study of suicide attempts, Moss and Hamilton2 found that the death of someone close to the patient was an important precipitating factor in over 60% of the cases. A review of the literature reveals that suicide attempts are frequently preceded by separation or threatened separation from important persons.3-7
The vulnerability to separation in adult life is thought to be related to childhood separations. A number of retrospective studies have shown
LEVI LD, FALES CH, STEIN M, SHARP VH. Separation and Attempted Suicide. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;15(2):158–164. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730140046008
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