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SBRL Blog: Getting to know the world of suicide research

posted Nov 2, 2018, 5:23 PM by Karen Wetherall   [ updated Nov 2, 2018, 5:30 PM ]

Getting to know the world of suicide research

Some reflections from Anabel Soehlemann (Technical University of Dresden)

I am a German psychology student at the Technical University of Dresden, currently halfway through my Master’s in Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy. Even though it’s a very clinically-oriented Master’s programme, it is obligatory for students to complete a research internship. And even though I chose the clinical over the scientific Master’s programme in Dresden, I am still very interested in research, especially in clinical research. Before I arrived at the Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab (SBRL) at Glasgow, I only had a very rough idea about suicide research.  Keen to learn more, when Catharina Foss, a PhD student in Dresden, mentioned SBRL to me, I immediately decided to apply and jumped at the chance of an internship.

In the Lab, I was welcomed so warmly by everyone that I quickly felt part of the team. Still not expecting too much and figuring on making coffee and typing in data for most of the 8 weeks ahead, I was slightly overwhelmed, but excited by the idea of analysing a dataset of around 1,500 participants and writing a paper on my findings. Being busy on “my own project” and always having so many lovely people around to answer my questions, having a lunch or coffee break, or just a little chat, the 8 weeks just flew by.

After getting to know the dataset and conducting a brief literature research, I decided to investigate the relationship between negative mood regulation expectancies (NMRE), a construct having its origins in Rotter’s Social Learning Theory, and suicidal ideation. Furthermore, I was interested in how perceived stress and depressive symptoms might explain (mediate) part of this relationship. My findings suggested that higher expectancies in one’s abilities to regulate a negative mood state may lead both directly and indirectly to lower suicidal ideation. Indirectly, high levels of NMRE were associated with less perceived stress and, in turn, to fewer depressive symptoms which again were associated with lower suicidal ideation. Watch this space as I finish the write up of the results!

Even though my time in Glasgow went by far too quickly and I am now back in Dresden, there is still a lot of work ahead in editing and submitting the paper, and whether it gets published in the end or not, it was a great experience for me and I learned a lot, not only about statistical practice and suicide theory, but also a little about how it feels to be part of a scientific community. I am now motivated to think beyond my Master’s thesis, perhaps to do a PhD afterwards and stick with research for a little longer than I had imagined.

I would like to thank Professor Rory O’Connor for giving me this opportunity and the whole SBRL team for all their support and for making this internship such a great experience and time!