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This study evaluates the use of 3 no-suicide contracts that differed in length from 1 to 9 sentences, and in specificity from indicating that clients will talk to a friend or therapist to a clear outline of persons and interventions to be used if they feel suicidal. Of the sample of 112 college students, 40% admitted to suicidal ideation and 54% reported some form of previous counseling. Students read all 3 contracts and rated them on how well they helped stop suicidal thoughts, communicated that the therapist cared, strengthened resistance to suicide, lessened depression, gave hope, encouraged cooperation with therapy and empowered, and how much they were complicated, short, or unrealistic. Regardless of gender, ethnicity, history of counseling, or prior suicidal ideation, students rated the more detailed contract best overall. Although other groups may respond differently, for college students, a specific, detailed no-suicide contract is best.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2001

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