Social problem-solving and suicidality

Miller, Jaclyn (2015) Social problem-solving and suicidality. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Aims. This thesis aimed to investigate the relationships between social problem-solving, defeat, entrapment and other cognitive risk factors (rumination, goal adjustment) for suicidal ideation and behaviour. The investigation was carried out using the framework of the Integrated Motivational-Volitional Model of Suicidal Behaviour (IMV; O’Connor, 2011) and this thesis aimed to test aspects of this theoretical model. In addition, this thesis also aimed to critically evaluate the measures of social problem-solving employed in suicide research.

Method. Five empirical studies across five chapters were conducted. In order to achieve the study’s aims, a systematic review was conducted first which informed the selection of the social problem-solving measures employed within the thesis (Chapter 3). The review also identified the need to update the original Means End Problem-Solving task (MEPS; Platt and Spivack, 1975). A series of focus groups were conducted to revise and update the measure (Chapter 6), two studies were then conducted to test the revised measure (MEPS-R; Chapter 7). A further two studies investigated the relationship between social problem-solving and suicidal ideation and behaviour. The first empirical study was prospective (Chapter 5) and the second was experimental in design (Chapter 8). All studies employed both student and general population samples.

Results. The Social Problem-Solving Inventory (SPSI-R; D’Zurilla, et al, 2002) and the MEPS were identified as the most common measures employed in suicide research (Chapter 3). The SPSI-R was employed in all studies and the original MEPS was revised and tested. The MEPS-R was found to be a reliable measure, both inter-rater and internal consistency were good although the MEPS-R scores did not correlate with established risk factors of psychological distress (Chapter 7). However, in the experimental study the MEPS-R was found to correlate with psychological distress (Chapter 8). Dysfunctional social problem-solving was found to be the most pernicious of the SPSI-R subscales and individuals who reported a history of self-harm were found to score higher in dysfunctional problem-solving than individuals who reported no history of self-harm (Chapter 5 and 8). Dysfunctional social problem-solving was found to mediated the defeat-entrapment relationship and rational problem-solving moderate this relationship. Defeat had no discernible impact on social problem-solving performance (Chapter 8).

Conclusion. This research makes a novel contribution to the understanding of the relationships between social problem-solving, defeat, entrapment, rumination, goal adjustment and suicidal ideation/behaviour. It also highlights the importance of the dysfunctional aspect of social problem-solving. The IMV model was a useful framework for understanding these relationships. In addition, the revised MEPS (MEPS-R) is a reliable measure of social problem-solving, which is more applicable for use in today’s society but it requires further testing, especially in clinical populations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: suicide, self-harm, suicidality, suicide behaviour and social problem-solving
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
Supervisor's Name: O'Connor, Professor Rory
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Mrs Jaclyn Miller
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6212
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2015 11:10
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2015 09:58

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