The Problematic Label of Suicide Gesture: Alternatives for Clinical Research and Practice.

Journal Article

Historically, certain terms used to describe psychopathology have evolved over time due to changing social and political contexts. This paper explores the importance of a clear and consistent language for characterizing suicide-related behaviors with a particular focus on the commonly used label "suicide gesture." The historical and contemporary uses of the term are explored, and clinical, research, and training implications are discussed. Clinicians and researchers are strongly encouraged to consider discontinuing the use of the term suicide gesture in light of its associated dismissive connotations and inconsistent application in clinical practice and research. In lieu of the term suicide gesture, recommendations are made regarding an increased emphasis by clinicians and researchers on more precise descriptions of suicidal behaviors and the functional assessment of suicide-related behaviors.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Heilbron, N; Compton, JS; Daniel, SS; Goldston, DB

Published Date

  • June 1, 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 41 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 221 - 227

PubMed ID

  • 20640243

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0735-7028

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/a0018712


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States