Suicide exposure and the impact of client suicide: A structural equation modeling approach

Ruth Van der Hallen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
93 Downloads (Pure)


OBJECTIVE: Client suicide, used to refer to situations where a mental health practitioner (MHP) is exposed, affected, or bereaved by a client's suicide, is known to have a profound impact on MHPs. The current study investigated (1) the short- and long-term impact of client suicide and (2) to what extent gender, years of experience, therapeutic background, and exposure to suicidality predicted impact.

METHODS: An international sample of 213 mental health practitioners completed an online survey on the impact of client suicide.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Overall, results indicate MHPs are significantly affected by client suicide. A two-factor model in which impact of client suicide was predicted by two latent variables, MHP Characteristics and Exposure to Suicidality, explained 43% of short-term, 69% of long-term emotional, and 60% of long-term professional impact. Whereas MHP characteristics did not significantly predict any of the three impact variables (ps >.05), Exposure to Suicidality significantly predicted all three outcome variables (ps <.001). Interestingly, lived experience or exposure to suicidality of friends/family members predicted more impact, while exposure to suicidality at work predicted less impact of client suicide. Implications for both research and clinical practice are discussed.HIGHLIGHTSMHPs are significantly affected by client suicide;Previous exposure to suicidality predicts the impact of client suicide;MHP characteristics do not predict the impact of client suicide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalArchives of Suicide Research
Early online date28 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2021

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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