Suicide Research and Education Strategic Initiative

Learn more about the Suicide Research and Education Strategic Initiative at the Austen Riggs Center.

Our Suicide Research and Education Strategic Initiative extends Riggs’ ongoing efforts to study the process of suicide, as individual, interpersonal, developmental, biological, sociocultural, and psychological phenomena. Several projects are now underway as part of this initiative. The main research study, “Impact of Interpersonal Experiences on Maladaptive Thoughts and Behaviors,” uses state-of-the art technology, including Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA). Using this approach, we are able to study our patients’ reactions to various interpersonal encounters over the course of a day for several weeks. Instead of measuring experience at one or two points in time, this study will allow us to understand experience in real time, through repeated measures. The ultimate goal is to illuminate the interpersonal vectors involved in changes in mood, impulsivity, and both adaptive and maladaptive coping responses. Other aspects of the initiative include ongoing publication of research from the “States of Mind Study Preceding a Near Lethal Suicide Attempt” study, as well as a follow-up assessment with participants from this study to see how they are doing and what has changed (or not) over the past five years. Understanding the developmental course of suicidal thinking and behavior remains a goal of this study, where we are still learning about what sorts of life experiences may contribute to chronic or episodic suicidal thinking. Professional and community education about suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention are also aspects of this initiative.

STAFF

Jane G. Tillman, PhD, ABPP, Evelyn Stefansson Nef Director of the Erikson Institute for Education and Research and Initiative Leader
Katie Lewis, PhD, Research Psychologist

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