The association between school staff's coping strategies following a student's suicide, school climate, and previous experience with suicide

Noa Tiech Fire, Sarit Alkalay, Yari Gvion, Gil Zalsman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article examines whether and to what extent school climate and previous experience of attempted suicide or suicide of someone close, affect the strategies adopted by Israeli school staff members in coping with a student's suicide. Participants included 84 homeroom teachers, principals, counselors, and psychologists who work at schools where a student had died by suicide during the five preceding years. Our findings show that optimal school climate predicts elevated levels of overall coping strategies and higher problem-focused strategies. Additionally, staff members who previously experienced suicide or attempted suicide of a close person exhibit lower levels of coping strategies, in general, and of emotion-focused strategies in particular. Thus, they can be considered a risk group for less adaptive adjustment following a student's suicide. Finally, previous incidents of suicide or attempted suicide of a close person do not moderate the link between optimal school climate and coping strategies. Thus, optimal school climate has a robust and positive effect on school staff's coping abilities and hence may be considered a protective factor for the risk group we identified, namely school staff who had previous experience of someone close who attempted suicide or died by suicide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2639-2656
Number of pages18
JournalPsychology in the Schools
Volume60
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Psychology in the Schools Published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.

Keywords

  • school climate
  • school staff
  • student suicide

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