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Objectives: Interpersonal factors play an important role in the etiology and treatment of depression. Social support derives from compassionate words and helpful actions provided by family, friends or a significant other. The present study was designed to examine various sources of social support as they relate to the severity of depressive symptoms, hopelessness and suicide risk in adult psychiatric outpatients. Method: Participants were recruited through mental health clinics at a veteran's affairs medical centre. A total of 96 depressed patients were assessed using a diagnostic interview and self-report measures of depression severity, hopelessness and social support. Among these depressed adults, 45.8% had attempted suicide at least once. Social support variables were compared between suicide attempters and non-attempters to better understand the relationship between social support and suicidal behaviour. Results: Depression severity and hopelessness were both significantly associated with lower levels of social support in multiple areas. Individuals with a history of suicide attempt reported lower levels of available support as compared to those who have never attempted suicide. Conclusion: Deficient social relationships increase the risk of suicide in depressed patients, exceeding the impact of depression alone on suicide risk. The lack of social support may play a vital role in feelings of hopelessness and isolation that contribute to a suicidal crisis. Psychosocial treatment should be considered to reduce the risk of suicide and severity of depression by strengthening social support and bolstering interpersonal relationships.
belongingness, death, depression, hopelessness, social support, suicide
Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy
© 2023 The Authors. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.
Silva, C., McGovern, C., Gomez, S., Beale, E., Overholser, J., & Ridley, J. (2023). Can I count on you? Social support, depression and suicide risk. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 30(6), 1407–1415. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.2883