A suicidal recovery theory to guide individuals on their healing and recovering process following a suicide attempt

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To develop a theory to guide the recovery process of a recent suicide attempt.


Suicide is one of the 10 leading causes of death in many countries. Many nations have set targets to reduce the high incidence of suicide by aiming to prevent people from taking their own lives and also providing care to promote the healing of those who attempt suicide.


A qualitative grounded theory approach was used.


Data were collected in 2011–2012 in a Taiwanese hospital until data saturation occurred. Twenty participants were interviewed, comprising patients who recovered from suicide attempts (N = 14) and their caregivers (N = 6). Data were analysed using open, axial, and selective coding and using the constant comparison technique.


A substantive theory was formulated to guide the recovery process of people who have recently attempted suicide. The core category that emerged from the data collected was ‘Striving to accept the value of self-in-existence’. Other key categories linked to and embraced in this core category were: becoming flexible and open-minded, re-building a positive sense of self, and endeavouring to live a peaceful and contented life.


Nurses could use this theory as a theoretical framework to guide people who are recovering from a suicide attempt by affording them the opportunity to grow and heal, and facilitating the re-building a positive sense of self, acknowledging the uncertainties of life, and inspiring hope.

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