A RE-EXAMINATION OF SUICIDE ACROSS THE LIFESPAN: WHAT IS KEEPING US ALIVE?
Hopes, L.M. and McLaren, S., University of Ballarat, Australia
The large majority of suicide research adopts a negativistic stance, choosing to examine suicide ideation, attempts or completed suicide rates. The present study offered an alternative conceptualisation of suicide, and attempted to assess reasons for choosing not to commit suicide across the lifespan. Six hundred and fifty five Australian residents completed the Reasons for Living Inventory. Results showed significant differences in reasons for choosing not to commit suicide as a function of age group. Overall, younger participants appeared more fearful of the suicidal act itself and the social disapproval that may result from an attempt. Middle aged participants indicated that their family and children were significant reasons to live. Older participants reported significantly stronger survival and coping abilities and moral objections to suicide. The present findings suggest that much can be learned from examining alternative views of suicide, and that suicide prevention efforts should acknowledge the changing nature of the values of life and death across the lifespan.