Title

Reacting to AIDS-Related Suicide: Does Time Since Diagnosis Matter?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-1-1995

Department

Psychology

Abstract

To determine whether type of illness and length of time since diagnosis influence reactions to suicide, we had 296 undergraduates read a vignette about Pat, who had been diagnosed as having AIDS or terminal cancer for 1 week, 1 month, 6 months, or 1 year, and then complete the Prejudicial Evaluation Scale and the Social Interaction Scale. Subjects then read that Pat committed suicide and completed the Youth Suicide Scale and the Suicide Semantic Differential Scale. A 2 (illness) x 4 (time since diagnosis) multivariate analysis of variance indicated that Pat received more stigma when the diagnosis was AIDS rather than terminal cancer, regardless of how long ago Pat had been diagnosed. Furthermore, this stigma extended to viewing the family as difficult to sympathize with, but not necessarily blameworthy. Results suggest that suicide by a person with AIDS is associated with greater stigma than is suicide by a person with another fatal disease, regardless of how long ago the diagnosis occurred.

Publication Title

Death Studies

Volume

19

Issue

3

First Page

277

Last Page

282