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Life satisfaction and degree of suicide intent: A test of the strain theory of suicide.


Various factors contribute to suicide. Psychological strains are hypothesized to precede suicidal thought and attempt. Life satisfaction can be a measure of relative deprivation strain and aspiration-reality strain.This study was to compare the suicide attempters with various levels of life satisfaction and find out how life satisfaction affects the degree of suicide intent among medically serious suicide attempters.Subjects for study were recruited in some rural counties in China. Interview data were from hospital emergency rooms with medically serious attempters of suicide (n=791). The subjects were aged between 15 and 54years and 293 males and 498 females. Face to face interview was conducted for each suicide attempter with a semi-structural protocol including life satisfaction, physical health, demographic, sociological, and psychological measures, as well as psychological strains.The multiple linear regression analysis showed that mental disorder, aspiration strain and relative deprivation strain were significant risk factors for high intent of suicide among suicide attempters. The interaction between the two psychological strains also indicated that both failed aspiration and self-perceived low economic status in village play an important role in suicidal intent.Low level of life satisfaction is associated with strong intent for suicide. Lack of life satisfaction is exemplified by relative deprivation perceived by the individuals and the discrepancy between an individual's aspiration for life and his/her reality. The findings from the suicide attempt data in rural China support the Strain Theory of Suicide.