Suicide continues to be a global public health problem that is even approaching pandemic levels. A new psychological assessment instrument promoted by the University of Granada (UGR) is able to prevent suicide in adolescents based on the detection of protective factors
Image provided by the University of Granada
The suicide is the third cause of death not accidental in the world and the fourth cause of death in adolescents and young adults.
In Spain, the current data, collected in 2020 and with respect to 2019, reflect that it remains the first cause of non-accidental death and indicate a high increase in injuries and suicide attempts in adolescents and young people.
A scientific team led by the University of Granada has designed a psychological evaluation mechanism with the aim of preventing suicide in this population.
The study has been led by David Sánchez Teruel, full professor of the Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment of the UGR, and member of the Spanish Society of Suicidologytogether with the teacher Assistant Robles Bello, from the Department of Psychology at the University of Jaénand two medical students: Aziz Sarhani Roblesof the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Granada, and Mariam Sarhani Roblesfrom the Faculty of Medicine of the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
The instrument consists of a series of tests and tests that evaluate retries suicide futures in adolescents at risk.
That is, in those who have carried out previous self-inflicted injuries or previous suicide attempts.
However, what this new mechanism focuses on is to detect the protective factors with which the individual has, since they promote the resilience of adolescents at risk and are fundamental to prevent suicide.
“This instrument assesses what protects the individual, not the risk they have”, points out Sánchez Teruel.
As he explains to EFEsalut, the focus has always been on the detection of risk factors, but none have been key to preventing suicide.
In this same line, he points out that the important thing is to detect the protective factors, since they minimize the negative effect of the risk factors.
Thus, it is constituted by 18 questions in total that measure resilience to future suicide re-attempt through three subdimensions concrete: internal protection, emotional stability i external protection.
When and where can it be used?
According to the UGR professor, the instrument has already been requested by different schools and clinics, as well as some Latin American countries, so it can already be applied.
In addition, by not asking about risk factors, it never talks about suicide directly, so it is an indirect and useful instrument to be applied in the school environment
“Even if it is adapted to people who have made previous suicide attempts, what we have detected is that the protective factors can also affect the general population”, explains the expert.
In this way, if a high vulnerability is foreseen in any teenager because he suffers harassment, bullying, abuse… it is important that he takes the test, because even if he has not attempted suicide, it can be very favorable to detect these protective factors to prevent future suicidal thoughts or attempts.
What are the protective factors?
Although the test measures three subdimensions, they exist specific protective factorsamong which the researcher points out:
- The optimism.
- The self concept.
- The sense of humour.
- The hope.
- The emotional self-control.
- The impulse control.
- Ask for help.
- Social habilities.
- Social support emotional type.