Research Update – States of Mind Preceding a Near Lethal Suicide Attempt: Understanding Pathways to Suicide and Associated Risk and Protective Factors



by Jane G. Tillman, PhD, ABPP

Jane Tillman, PhD, ABPPThis is an update on ongoing research led by Principal Investigator Dr. Jane G. Tillman.

The States of Mind (SOM) study involves 131 participants drawn from the patient population of the Austen Riggs Center. Data were collected between 2009-2012. Within this sample we conducted a detailed psychodynamic interview with a subset of 11 patients who had made a medically serious suicide attempt within the two years prior to admission.

In the SOM study we were interested in learning about the experiences of our patients, and in understanding differences between those without a history of suicidal ideation or attempts, and those who reported a history of suicidal ideation, attempts, and medically serious attempts. We looked at general psychiatric history variables, trauma history, and measures of two risk factors (Psychic Pain Scale, Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11) and two protective factors measures (Reasons for Living Inventory, and Connor Davidson Resilience Scale). Below, you will find a list of published papers related to the SOM study, with further papers in process related to our qualitative interview data.

Pending Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, our next step is to re-contact participants who consented to be contacted for follow-up in order to collect current demographic, psychiatric, and suicide history data. In addition to this, we plan to ask follow-up participants to complete several of the measures that they completed at the time of entry into the study. We are interested in what does and does not change over time so that we can understand how our participants are doing over a five-plus year interval.

Download and view the slide deck from a recent presentation Dr. Tillman’s gave on the SOM study.


Read about Riggs’ Suicide Research and Education Strategic Initiative