The implicit suicidal mind clings to life

Dominique P. Harrison, Werner G.k. Stritzke, Jason Y.s. Leong, T. Mark Ellison, Nicolas Fay, Abdul-rahman Hudaib

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


Suicide risk assessment and management greatly depend on the suicidal person communicating their doubts about life and intent to die to another person. Assessment of implicit cognition does not rely on self-report and may provide an alternative means to reveal a person's diminishing hold on life. Evidence to date consistently shows that even high-risk individuals hold a stronger implicit self-association with life relative to death/suicide, and the death/suicide implicit association test measures variability in the strength of a person's implicit attachment to life. The association between implicit identification of self with life relative to death and suicide risk is mediated through two competing pathways: acquired capability for suicide and zest for life. Whereas acquired capability is most influential for suicide-specific risk indicators further along the ideation-to-action pathway, zest for life is most influential at the earlier stages of the pathway and for general indicators of risk.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAlternatives to Suicide
Subtitle of host publicationBeyond risk and toward a life worth living
PublisherElsevier BV
ISBN (Print)9780128142974
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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