Attitudes and opinions towards suicidality in professionals working with oncology patients: results from an online survey

  • To explore and describe attitudes and opinions towards suicidality in healthcare professionals (HCPs) working with oncological patients. Methods: A 48-item online questionnaire was developed and distributed to HCPs working with cancer patients. Three hundred fifty-four answered questionnaires were analyzed. Results: The majority of HCPs reported that they were able to understand why a cancer patient would commit suicide (87.8%) or would seek help from an assisted suicide organization (ASO; 83.9%). The understandable reasons were pain and physical impairments (51.4%), social isolation (19.8%), loss of control and autonomy (18.1%), terminal disease (17.2%), loss of meaning (15.3%), desperation (14.7%), and psychic distress (9.3%). Personal experiences with suicidality lead only 44.8% of HCPs to believe that thereby they would be better able to understand a patients’ wish for suicide. Religion was negatively associated with understanding of suicide and why a cancer patient would seek help from an ASO. Knowledge of suicidality was positively associated with why a cancer patient would seek help from an ASO. Conclusions: There is still little knowledge in oncology about the relation of HCPs’ attitudes toward suicidality in their patients and how those attitudes influence their behavior, especially care and treatment of patients. More research on this topic is needed. It stands to reason that more education about suicidality in cancer patients seems likely to improve understanding and attitudes and thereby influence care for cancer patients.
Author:Bianca SenfORCiDGND, Paula Maiwurm, Jens Fettel
Parent Title (English):Supportive care in cancer
Place of publication:Berlin; Heidelberg; New York, NY
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/10/01
Date of first Publication:2021/10/01
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/02/09
Tag:Attitude; Behavior; Cancer; Oncology; Online Survey; Opinion; Suicidality; Understanding
Page Number:12
First Page:1775
Last Page:1786
Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL. H.W. & J. Hector Stiftung, Grant/Award Number: Medizinprojekt M64.
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0