Zest for Life: An Antidote to Suicide?

Sarah George, Werner Stritzke, Andrew Page, Julia Brown, Tricia Wylde

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In this chapter we present evidence that a zestful life, characterized by active engagement with life accompanied by a positive outlook and free from recent depletions of enthusiasm and vigor for life, may be an important antidote to factors thought to proximally and causally antecede suicide. Specifically, we test the mediating and moderating role of zest for life against the deleterious impacts of the three causal factors proposed by the interpersonal theory (i.e., thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness, acquired capability for suicide) using a prospective design. We show that erosion in zest for life amplifies the adverse effects of these causal factors, but undiminished and strong zest confers protection. We conclude that while it is critically important to understand why people die by suicide, we must not neglect to examine why people do not die by suicide, which is the most likely outcome even in the presence of frequent suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAlternatives to Suicide
Subtitle of host publicationBeyond Risk and Toward a Life Worth Living
EditorsAndrew Page, Werner Stritzke
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780128142981
ISBN (Print)9780128142974
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2020


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