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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 4 discussion and debate, there does not exist a universally accepted set of definitions and classifications of suicidal behaviors for the reliable labeling, counting, and study of individuals who are at risk for self-destructive injuries” (pp. 12-13). This lack of agreement is due to the complex nature of suicide. Shneidman noted that: In suicide, overall, there are no universals, absolutes, or ‘alls.’ The best that one can reasonably hope to discuss are the most frequent (‘common’) characteristics that accrue to most committed suicides and to make this discussion in as reasonable and as ordinary a language as possible. (pp. 121- 122) Shneidman (1985) further noted that one of these ‘commonalities’ is relational, and is directly associated with communication. First, “the common interpersonal act in suicide is communication of intention” (Shneidman, p. 143). When an individual intends to commit suicide, he or she may give clues to others about his or her intentions. The proper diagnosis of these clues can alert others of the individual’s intentions and create an opportunity for intervention. Second, “the common action in suicide is egression” (Shneidman, 144). In other words, the suicidal individual seeks to escape from a relation. In this case, intervention involves blocking the exits the suicidal individual tries to escape through. Werth (1996) claimed that if the individual is rational in their desire to flee, any

Authors: Miraldi, Peter.
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Interpersonal Communication Aspects of Suicide 4
discussion and debate, there does not exist a universally
accepted set of definitions and classifications of suicidal
behaviors for the reliable labeling, counting, and study of
individuals who are at risk for self-destructive injuries” (pp.
12-13). This lack of agreement is due to the complex nature of
suicide. Shneidman noted that:
In suicide, overall, there are no universals, absolutes, or
‘alls.’ The best that one can reasonably hope to discuss are
the most frequent (‘common’) characteristics that accrue to
most committed suicides and to make this discussion in as
reasonable and as ordinary a language as possible. (pp. 121-
122)
Shneidman (1985) further noted that one of these
‘commonalities’ is relational, and is directly associated with
communication. First, “the common interpersonal act in suicide is
communication of intention” (Shneidman, p. 143). When an
individual intends to commit suicide, he or she may give clues to
others about his or her intentions. The proper diagnosis of these
clues can alert others of the individual’s intentions and create
an opportunity for intervention. Second, “the common action in
suicide is egression” (Shneidman, 144). In other words, the
suicidal individual seeks to escape from a relation. In this
case, intervention involves blocking the exits the suicidal
individual tries to escape through. Werth (1996) claimed that if
the individual is rational in their desire to flee, any


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