Stability of Personal Suicide Stigma and Relationship with Self-esteem, Well-being, and Suicidality

What is Personal Suicide Stigma and Why is This Research Being Conducted?

Stigmatisation is an unfortunate reality for many of those who suffer from suicidal thoughts and behaviours; it entails many harmful aspects including negative labelling, stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination and more. Stigma also results in poor outcomes for suicidal individuals, such as reduced or no help-seeking behaviour, low levels of self-efficacy, lowered self-esteem and well-being, and sometimes negative treatment.

Perhaps one of the most damaging and pervasive forms of stigma is personal suicide stigma. Personal suicide stigma refers to suicide stigma experienced from the perspective of the suicidal individual. Research assessing personal suicide stigma has only recently emerged, with the development of a 16-item self-report measure of personal suicide stigma called the Personal Suicide Stigma Questionnaire (PSSQ), designed to assess personal suicide stigma in a brief and accurate manner.

As this measure is very new and personal suicide stigma knowledge is only just beginning to emerge, there is still much unknown about personal suicide stigma and the PSSQ used to measure it.

We are interested in finding answers to these questions:

1. Is personal suicide stigma a stable experience?

2. Does the PSSQ actually measure personal suicide stigma or is it only measuring suicidality?

3. How does self-esteem and well-being relate to an individual’s experience of personal suicide stigma?

Our research team is determined to answer these questions in order to increase our understanding of the PSSQ and personal suicide stigma as a construct to eventually be able to better respond to suicidal individuals.

What Will This Study Involve?

If you consent to participate in the study, you will be required to complete an online survey on two different occasions (initial survey and two months). The online survey will ask you questions about suicidal thoughts and behaviour, as well as questions about your experiences with personal suicide stigma, self-esteem, and well-being. The surveys are anonymous and take approximately 20-25 minutes to complete.

Participation Eligibility

Participants in the current study need to meet the following requirements:

· Experienced or currently experiencing suicidality (thoughts or behaviour)

· Aged 18 or over

· Currently living in Australia

· That you feel comfortable completing the survey. Do not complete this survey if you feel that the nature of the survey and its questions may distress you.

Expected Benefits of This Research

Your participation may contribute to further validation of the PSSQ measure (which is anticipated to eventually be used in service settings to aid intervention efforts). You will also be afforded the opportunity to anonymously and confidentially share your experiences of personal suicide stigma. You will be offered help and support services should you require these services. However, please note that the members of the research team are unable to provide direct mental health support or advice to you. Their role is to aid you in finding the appropriate referral pathways.

In addition to these points, there is the option of taking part in a prize draw to win one of three $50 gift cards should you participate in the two online survey administrations. The collection of your personal details for the prize draw and for accessing referral services is completed separately from the survey.

Risks to you

While there are minimal risks to you, it is possible that some of the content in this survey, particularly around suicide stigma and suicidal thoughts/behaviours, may be distressing for some participants. It is essential that you do not complete the survey if you feel it will distress you. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed during the survey, please stop and contact one of the mental health contacts provided at the end of this form. Additionally, at the end of this survey, we have offered the opportunity for you to contact a member of the research team who will provide referral options for your situation if needed/requested. Your participation is completely voluntary and if you choose to withdraw from the survey at any time, there will be no penalty to you. We are committed to ensuring the safety of our participants.

Regarding anonymity, the only information required that is identifiable and re-identifiable is the email address you provide and the unique identify code you enter into the survey. The researcher will need your email address in order to a) email you the second survey two-months following initial administration, b) notify you if you win a prize draw (cash voucher), and c) so we can match your data from the initial survey to the follow-up survey. The unique identifier code is used as a backup to make sure that we have matched your data accurately. Once data has been entered into our system and matched for data analysis, your personal information (email and identifier) will be disregarded. If you have any concerns about your anonymity or about the content of the survey items, please contact the research team (details at the end of the form).

Your consent

How are we going to use your Information?

The data collected from the survey instruments may contain re-identifiable data as mentioned previously (email address and unique identifier code) but will be later made unidentifiable even to the research team; the unidentifiable data will be used for statistical analyses. In sum, our research team will discard any identifying information prior to the statistical analysis. Thus, your responses will remain anonymous.

All reporting of results will therefore be reported only as group data, and no individual names will be able to be identified.

How will the Data be Stored?

All data collected will be stored on a Griffith University approved secure research data storage repository for a minimum of 5 years. After this time, the data may be confidentially destroyed. No personal information about you will be retained or stored.

Findings from the research will be used for academic theses, and for other academic outputs, such as conference proceedings and journal articles. A de-identified data set will be deposited (with mediated access) in an open-access data repository.

The Ethical Conduct of This Research

Griffith University conducts research in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. If you have any concerns or complaints about the ethical conduct of this research project, you should contact the Manager of Research Ethics 3735 4375 or

Expressed Consent

If you enter this survey you will be deemed to have consented to participating in the research. However, you can withdraw from the survey at any time without penalty or prejudice.


If you become distressed and experience suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm, or need help because you are struggling in general, please consult any of the below contacts now or any time in the future:

· Your family or local GP

· Friends or Family

· Phone help lines:

o Lifeline 13 11 14 (in Australia, 24/7) and

o Suicide Call Back Service, Nationwide 1300 659 467 (24 /7)

· On-line crisis support chats, such as:



· Self-help websites, such as:



· Helping professional: Psychologists, Counsellors, financial advisors, legal professionals, ministers, career advisors, or teachers

Feedback to you

At the conclusion of this research project, you may request a summary of the results in plain language. Please contact Brant Maclean via email: to request a copy of summary results and for any other questions regarding the survey.

Thank you for showing interest in our study and taking the time to participate in the study.

Research Team:

Mrs Jacinta Hawgood

Senior Lecturer/Program Director Suicidology


Mr Brant Maclean (Psychology Honours Student)


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