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Exploring the Interpersonal Communication Aspects of Suicide: A Research Agenda for Communi-Suicidology
Unformatted Document Text:  Interpersonal Communication Aspects of Suicide 3 (Motto, 1967). However, “communication researchers have not made significant contributions to this body of literature despite convincing evidence that suicide is, in fact, an act of communication” (Vartabedian, 1988, p. 3). Indeed, communication scholars have an in-depth understanding of the interpersonal communication process and they also have the potential to add critical insight to this self-defined communication problem. The purposes of this paper are threefold. First, an explication and definition of ‘suicide’ are presented in terms of communication. Second, an interpersonal communication model, incorporating three major stages of interpersonal communication in the suicidal cycle, is proposed to synthesize extant literature. Third, potential research areas are proposed, based on each stage of the model. The overall goal of this paper and proposed model is to offer a better understanding of the interpersonal communication processes involved in suicide for the purpose of more effective suicide prevention. Defining Suicide In order to fully understand the communicative aspects of suicide, it is first necessary to understand the complexities of suicide itself and define what is meant by suicide. Suicidologists have struggled to reach a consensus over what constitutes suicide (Boldt, 1989; Lester, 1997; Maris, 1981; Mayo, 1992; Shneidman, 1985; Silverman, 1997; Werth, 1996). In fact, Silverman pointed out that “after more than 25 years of

Authors: Miraldi, Peter.
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Interpersonal Communication Aspects of Suicide 3
(Motto, 1967). However, “communication researchers have not made
significant contributions to this body of literature despite
convincing evidence that suicide is, in fact, an act of
communication” (Vartabedian, 1988, p. 3). Indeed, communication
scholars have an in-depth understanding of the interpersonal
communication process and they also have the potential to add
critical insight to this self-defined communication problem.
The purposes of this paper are threefold. First, an
explication and definition of ‘suicide’ are presented in terms of
communication. Second, an interpersonal communication model,
incorporating three major stages of interpersonal communication
in the suicidal cycle, is proposed to synthesize extant
literature. Third, potential research areas are proposed, based
on each stage of the model. The overall goal of this paper and
proposed model is to offer a better understanding of the
interpersonal communication processes involved in suicide for the
purpose of more effective suicide prevention.
Defining Suicide
In order to fully understand the communicative aspects of
suicide, it is first necessary to understand the complexities of
suicide itself and define what is meant by suicide.
Suicidologists have struggled to reach a consensus over what
constitutes suicide (Boldt, 1989; Lester, 1997; Maris, 1981;
Mayo, 1992; Shneidman, 1985; Silverman, 1997; Werth, 1996). In
fact, Silverman pointed out that “after more than 25 years of


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