Explaining Suicide - Chapter 3: Suicide Motivated by Interpersonal Relationships

Elsevier, Explaining Suicide: Patterns, Motivations, and What Notes Reveal, 2017, Pages 51-71
Cheryl L. Meyer, Taronish H. Irani, Katherine A. Hermes, Betty Yung

This chapter examines interpersonal relationships as a motivation for suicide. Conflict in interpersonal relationships, specifically with intimate partners, was the motivation for approximately one-fifth of our cases. Two main categories emerged: suicide related to intimate partners and suicide motivated by other interpersonal relationships. Three subgroups emerged within suicide related to intimate partners: unrequited or lost love (45%), abusive relationship (30%), and unknown cause (24%). For these groups, the suicides may have represented different ways of achieving balance in a relationship that had become imbalanced. Suicides that are due to interpersonal conflict with other family members represent other dynamics and may be tied to perceived burdensomeness. One subgroup that emerged within this category was murder-suicide. A detailed explanation of these categories and our findings are presented in this chapter.