Purpose: Suicide is a significant health problem internationally. Those who complete suicide may have different behaviors and risk factors than those who attempt a non-fatal suicide. The purpose of this article is to analyze the concept of suicide lethality and propose a clear definition of the concept through the identification of antecedents, attributes, and consequences. Methods: A literature search for articles published in the English language between 1970 and 2016 was conducted using MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library, Pubmed, Psychlit, Ovid, PsycINFO, and Proquest. The bibliographies of all included studies were also reviewed to identify additional relevant citations. A concept analysis was conducted on the literature findings using six stages of Walker and Avant's method. Findings: The concept analysis differentiated between suicide, lethality, suicidal behavior, and suicide lethality. Presence of a suicide plan or a written suicide note was not found to be associated with the majority of completed suicides included in the definition of suicide lethality. There are a few scales that measure the lethality of a suicide attempt, but none that attempt to measure the concept of suicide lethality as described in this analysis. Conclusions: Clarifying the concept of suicide lethality encourages awareness of the possibility of different suicidal behaviors associated with different suicide outcomes and will inform the development of future nursing interventions. A clearer definition of the concept of suicide lethality will guide clinical practice, research, and policy development aimed at suicide prevention.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Phychiatric Mental Health