Mental pain and its relationship to suicidality and life meaning

Israel Orbach, Mario Mikulincer, Eva Gilboa-Schechtman, Pinhas Sirota

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


Shneidman (1996) proposed that intense mental pain is related to suicide. Relatedly, Frankl (1963) argued that the loss of life's meaning is related to intense mental pain. The first goal of this research was to test Shneidman's proposition by comparing the mental pain of suicidal and nonsuicidal individuals. Meaning in life and optimism are the polar opposites of suicidality and hopelessness, and the examination of these variables in relation to mental pain was undertaken to provide a test of Frankl's proposition. In two studies, a relationship between a newly developed measure of mental pain-the Orbach & Mikulincer Mental Pain Scale, 2002 (OMMP; see also Orbach, Mikulincer, Sirota & Gilboa-Schechtman, 2002)-and suicidal behavior and life meaning were examined. Results confirmed both propositions. Implications for the study of mental pain and suicide are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-241
Number of pages11
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2003


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