Provocative work experiences predict the acquired capability for suicide in physicians

Erin L. Fink-Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The interpersonal psychological theory of suicidal behavior (IPTS) offers a potential means to explain suicide in physicians. The IPTS posits three necessary and sufficient precursors to death by suicide: thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness, and acquired capability. The present study sought to examine whether provocative work experiences unique to physicians (e.g., placing sutures, withdrawing life support) would predict levels of acquired capability, while controlling for gender and painful and provocative experiences outside the work environment. Data were obtained from 376 of 7723 recruited physicians. Study measures included the Acquired Capability for Suicide Scale, the Interpersonal Needs Questionnaire, the Painful and Provocative Events Scale, and the Life Events Scale-Medical Doctors Version. Painful and provocative events outside of work predicted acquired capability (β=0.23, t=3.82, p<0.001, f2=0.09) as did provocative work experiences (β=0.12, t=2.05, p<0.05, f2=0.07). This represents the first study assessing the potential impact of unique work experiences on suicidality in physicians. Limitations include over-representation of Caucasian participants, limited representation from various specialties of medicine, and lack of information regarding individual differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-147
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 30 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


Dive into the research topics of 'Provocative work experiences predict the acquired capability for suicide in physicians'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this