Special Issue "Suicide, Homicide, and Self-Harm in Family Carers"

A special issue of Behavioral Sciences (ISSN 2076-328X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Siobhan O’Dwyer
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Ageing & Family Care, University of Exeter Medical School, College of Medicine and Health, University of Exeter, UK
Interests: family care; suicide; homicide; self-harm; psychosocial interventions; ageing; dementia; social media and health; professional development in academia

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to invite you to contribute to a Special Issue of Behavioral Sciences, focused on suicide, homicide, and self-harm in family carers. More than five decades of research has shown that carers experience higher than average rates of physical and mental health problems, but it is only recently that researchers have begun to explore self-harm, suicide, and homicide in this population. Initial estimates suggest that rates of suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation, and self-harm are high in carers, but much remains to be understood about these complex phenomena. For example, how do rates of suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation, and self-harm vary by relationship, illness/disability, and cultural context? What are the rates of completed suicide, homicide, and homicide–suicide in family carers, and how do they vary by relationship, illness/disability, and cultural context? What are the risk and protective factors for suicide, homicide, and self-harm in carers? How well do existing theories of suicide, homicide, and self-harm explain the thoughts and behaviors of carers? How do health systems, criminal justice systems, and the media respond to self-harm, suicide, and homicide in carers? Additionally, what can be done in practice and policy to identify and support at-risk carers? It is expected that submissions to this Special Issue will answer these and many other questions.

This issue will focus specifically on people providing unpaid care to a family member or friend with an illness or disability (known as carers in most parts of the world and caregivers in the US). Beyond that, however, the scope is broad. I welcome submissions from a wide range of disciplines, using a wide range of research methods and focusing on a wide range of carers and care-recipients. Both theoretical and empirical work are welcome, as are primary and secondary data analyses and evidence synthesis. 

If you wish to discuss your paper prior to submission, please feel free to contact me.

Dr. Siobhan O’Dwyer
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Behavioral Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • suicide
  • homicide
  • self-harm
  • carers
  • caregivers
  • family
  • disability
  • illness
  • dementia

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
“Like Death is Near”: Expressions of Suicidal and Homicidal Ideation in the Blog Posts of Family Caregivers of People with Dementia
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(3), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9030022 - 03 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background: The challenges of providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) have been associated with increased stress, poor mental and physical health, social isolation, and financial distress. More recently, caregiving has been associated with high rates of suicidal and [...] Read more.
Background: The challenges of providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) have been associated with increased stress, poor mental and physical health, social isolation, and financial distress. More recently, caregiving has been associated with high rates of suicidal and homicidal ideation, but the research on these phenomena is limited. The present study analyzed a sample of blogs written by family caregivers of people with ADRD to explore thoughts of suicide and homicide expressed by these caregivers. Methods: Blogs written by self-identified informal caregivers of people with ADRD were identified using a systematic search method and data were analyzed using a qualitative thematic analysis. Results: Five themes related to thoughts of suicide and homicide by caregivers and people with ADRD were derived from the analysis: (1) end-of-life care; (2) thoughts of death and euthanasia by the person with ADRD; (3) surrogate decision making; (4) thoughts of suicide by the caregiver; and (5) thoughts of homicide and euthanasia by the caregiver. Conclusions: The results capture the reality of suicidal and homicidal thoughts among family caregivers of people with ADRD, supporting calls for more research on these complex topics and highlighting the need for changes to clinical practice to prevent thoughts from becoming behaviors or actions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suicide, Homicide, and Self-Harm in Family Carers)

Review

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Open AccessReview
Suicidal Ideation in Bereavement: A Systematic Review
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(5), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9050053 - 14 May 2019
Abstract
Background: Bereavement is associated with impaired mental health, increases in adverse health behaviors, and heightened risk of suicidal ideation, attempts, and death by suicide. The purpose of this literature review was to explore associations between cause of death and suicidal thoughts among bereaved [...] Read more.
Background: Bereavement is associated with impaired mental health, increases in adverse health behaviors, and heightened risk of suicidal ideation, attempts, and death by suicide. The purpose of this literature review was to explore associations between cause of death and suicidal thoughts among bereaved individuals. Our aim was to compare incidence of suicidal ideation by cause of death and identify gaps in this literature to guide future research and clinical intervention. Methods: PRISMA-P guidelines were used to structure an electronic literature search in the PsycINFO, MEDLINE, and Web of Science databases. The search focused on English language studies that were published before February 2019 and sought to compare rates of suicidal ideation among bereaved people who lost a loved one to suicide, accidental overdose, cancer, dementia, cardiovascular disease, and HIV/AIDs. Results: Nine articles were identified with suicide as cause of death, zero articles for accidental overdose, zero articles for cardiovascular disease, seven articles for cancer, one article for dementia, and one article for HIV/AIDs. Given the limited number of articles generated by our search, a formal meta-analysis was not appropriate. However, a comparison of results did suggest that suicide bereavement was associated with the highest rates of suicide ideation (14.1% to 49%). Stigma, isolation, avoidance behaviors, and psychological distress were associated with suicidal thoughts among bereaved individuals, regardless of the deceased’s cause of death. Conclusions: Findings of this literature search revealed significant gaps in the literature, especially regarding thoughts of suicide in bereaved survivors of accidental overdose and cardiovascular disease. Results suggest that multiple causes of death are associated with suicidal ideation in bereavement, but that suicide bereavement may be the cause of death associated with the highest risk of suicidal ideation. More research is needed to understand the ways in which cause of death influences prevalence, risk, and protective factors associated with suicidal thoughts among bereaved individuals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suicide, Homicide, and Self-Harm in Family Carers)
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Other

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Open AccessCommentary
Research Commentary: A Carer’s Roadmap for Research, Practice, and Policy on Suicide, Homicide, and Self-Harm
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(5), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9050048 - 01 May 2019
Abstract
Academic researchers are increasingly asked to engage with the wider world, both in terms of creating impact from their work, and in telling the world what goes on in university research departments. An aspect of this engagement involves working with patients, carers or [...] Read more.
Academic researchers are increasingly asked to engage with the wider world, both in terms of creating impact from their work, and in telling the world what goes on in university research departments. An aspect of this engagement involves working with patients, carers or members of the public as partners in research. This means working with them to identify important research questions and designing studies to address those questions. This commentary was jointly written by two researchers and people with relevant caring experience for this special issue. It brings to the forefront the concerns of carers who are also involved in research as partners. The aim is to highlight their perspectives to inform future research, policy, and practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suicide, Homicide, and Self-Harm in Family Carers)
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