The International Handbook of Suicide Prevention: Research, Policy and Practice

By Rory C. O’Connor; Jane Pirkis | Go to book overview

13
The Integrated
Motivational-Volitional Model
of Suicidal Behavior
An Update

Rory C. O’Connor, Seonaid Cleare, Sarah Eschle,
Karen Wetherall, and Olivia J. Kirtley


Introduction

Toward an Integrated Perspective: The Integrated Motivational-Volitional
Model of Suicidal Behavior

In the past 30 years, numerous models of suicidal behavior have been put forward that have led to important developments in our understanding of the etiology and course of suicidal behavior (see Table 13.1). As a consequence, there is growing recognition that we need to move beyond the classic psychiatric diagnostic categories if we are to further understand the causes of suicidal behavior (O’Connor & Nock, 2014; van Heeringen, 2001). Some models, such as suicide as escape from self (Baumeister, 1990), have focused on a single driving motivation (i.e., escape); others, for example, the cognitive model of suicidal behavior (Wenzel & Beck, 2008), have attended to a specific domain of risk (e.g., cognition). Others still, including Schotte and Clum’s (1987) diathesis–stress model, have highlighted cognitive vulnerabilities that become pernicious when activated by stress. As a result of the emergence of these theoretical models, a plethora of personality factors (e.g., impulsivity) and cognitive factors (e.g., social problem solving) have been identified and shown to increase risk of repeat self-harm and suicide (e.g., Brezo, Paris, & Turecki, 2006; Ellis & Rutherford, 2008; O’Connor, 2010; O’Connor & Nock, 2014). Despite these developments, many of the predictive models have adopted a narrow focus or have failed to build on the growing empirical evidence base. Therefore, O’Connor’s (2011a) central aim of developing a new integrated model was to synthesize the evidence that had already been garnered from the predominant models. Moreover, with only a few exceptions, previous models have not been particularly successful in differentiating between those who think about suicide, but do not attempt suicide (suicide ideators), and those who go on to engage in suicidal behavior (suicide attempters; Hagan,

The International Handbook of Suicide Prevention, Second Edition. Edited by Rory C. O’Connor and Jane Pirkis. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published 2016 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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