Date of Award

Spring 5-16-1985

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

First Advisor

Krauss, Judith B.

Second Advisor

Slavinsky, Ann T.


This study explored attitudes of psychiatric nurses in two public mental health facilities towards the suicide attempter. The study utilized a descriptive, relation-searching survey design. A convenience sample (N = 44) of psychiatric nurses completed a questionnaire designed to explore relationships among characteristics of the attempter, characteristics of the system, nurses’ characteristics, attitudes towards treatment of the suicide attempter, and death anxiety levels of the clinicians. Significant relationships were found between characteristics of the attempter and attitudes and between comfort regarding legal knowledge and attitudes. Nurses preferred the manipulative type of attempter to the depressive one even though they perceived the intent of the depressive client to be more lethal. Nurses who rated their degree of comfort high regarding their knowledge of their legal responsibilities also indicated more favorable attitudes toward treatment. Findings suggest that nurses might profit from more information regarding their legal responsibilities in working with these often very difficult and manipulative clients. Limitations, recommendations for nursing care and further research are discussed.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access