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Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal

Abstract

Fifty successive patients attempting suicide are assessed from the standpoint of communication (how, when and to whom), manipulativeness, impulsiveness and the dangerousness of the pattern of behavior involved in the attempted suicide. This assessment is meant to clarify the component motivations of suicidal behavior, appeal and self-destruction. The earlier, more obvious the communication, the more definite is the manipulation, the more readily apparent the appeal function. Conversely the later, the less obvious the communication or the absence of communication, the more subtle or absent manipulation the greater is the dominance of self-destructive motivation over the appeal function of the attempted suicidal. Impulsiveness, integrated with other factors, aided in defining and understanding the patients' action. For example, the typical suicidal gesture was highly impulsive, consciously manipulative and showed little dangerousness in the pattern of behavior. They also clearly communicated their intentions and they neither expected nor wanted to die.

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