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International Journal of Recent Trends in Science and Technology, ISSN 2277-2812 E-ISSN: 2249-8109

Volume 9, Issue 2, December 2013 pp 299-302

Research Article

Perceived Expressed Emotion as a Risk Factor for Attempted Suicide – A Case Control Study


Anju Mathew1, Anil Prabhakaran2

1Assistant Professor, 2Professor and HOD, Department of Psychiatry

Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala- 695011 INDIA.

Academic Editor : Dr. Aher K.R.



Background: Relatively little is known about the role of perceived expressed emotion in attempted suicide. Objective: To identify whether perceived expressed emotions are a risk factor for attempted suicide. Method: Sixty seven consecutive adult suicide attempters who attended a tertiary care hospital in South India were recruited as cases. One hundred and thirty four controls were selected from the adult relatives and friends of other patients who attended the hospital for reasons other than attempted suicide. Assessment included details regarding socio-demographic data, psychiatric and physical morbidity, their stressors and perceived expressed emotions. Stressors were assessed using Presumptive Stressful Life Event Scale (Singh et al., 1983) and Perceived Expressed Emotions using Family Emotional Involvement and Criticism Scale (Shields et al., 1992). Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (Zimet et al., 1988) was used to assess perceived family support. Results: Analyses revealed that a specific component of expressed emotion, namely perceived criticism (Odds Ratio=1.88; 95% Confidence Interval=1.01-2.04) was a significant risk factor for attempted suicide whereas emotional involvement was not (Odds Ratio=0.90; 95% Confidence Interval=0.55-1.46). Analyses also showed that psychiatric disorders, recent stressful life-events and lack of perceived family support were risk factors for attempted suicide. Conclusions: This study concludes that perceived expressed emotion, mainly perceived criticism is a significant risk factor for attempted suicide. Its implications in the genesis, treatment and prevention of attempted suicide are discussed.