Antoon A. Leenaars

Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Kristiania (historical), Oslo County, Norway

Are you Antoon A. Leenaars?

Claim your profile

Publications (133)142.09 Total impact

  • The International Handbook of Suicide and Attempted Suicide, 04/2008: pages 421 - 435; , ISBN: 9780470698976
  • Birol Demirel · Taner Akar · Aslihan Sayin · Selçuk Candansayar · Antoon A Leenaars ·
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There has been limited study of suicide in Islamic countries. This paper marks the first study of suicide notes in Turkey, an Islamic country. Using a classification scheme, 49 suicide notes (a rate of 34.5%) were studied. The results show that note writers do not differ greatly from other suicides. Further analysis of younger (<40) and older (>40) suicide note writers reveal few significant differences. Our results, together with the results of classification studies in different countries, suggest that caution is in order in transposing findings from one country to other countries. Future study of suicide notes should, in fact, focus on cross-cultural investigation.
    Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 02/2008; 38(1):122-7. DOI:10.1521/suli.2008.38.1.122 · 1.40 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Shneidman's Psychological Pain Assessment Scale (PPAS; 1999) was administered to 88 psychiatric patients. Both current and worst-ever psychache were significantly higher in those patients judged by a psychiatrist, on the basis of a structured clinical interview, to be at risk of suicide. However, current and worst-ever psychache were not associated with having attempted suicide in the past. Thus, for the present sample of psychiatric patients, the PPAS appears to be more sensitive to current suicidality than to past suicidality. Further, there are validity issues with the PPAS, with the need for multi-item measures and probably a multi-factor measure.
    Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 01/2008; 38(1):116 - 121. DOI:10.1521/suli.2008.38.1.116 · 1.40 Impact Factor
  • Antoon A. Leenaars ·
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Suicide is a multifaceted event that is open to study from multiple points of view. In this chapter, I offer a psychological/psychiatric perspective with diverse ethnic and racial applications. I do so because I agree with Shneidman (1985) that the psychological dimensions of suicide are the "trunk" of suicide. This is true regardless of the culture. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Previous research has reported mixed findings on the effect of the menstrual cycle on suicidal behavior. The contribution of menstruation to completed suicide is also controversial, though the studies are very limited and have not been carefully designed. To explore the relationship, 217 autopsies on completed suicides were performed, matched to a control group at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. The results show that 54.46% of people who died by suicide were menstruating (results excluded pregnancies), compared to 6.75% of the control group. Menstruation in those who completed suicide, compared to a control group, appeared to have an association with suicide. More research is warranted.
    Psychological Reports 11/2007; 101(2):430-4. DOI:10.2466/PR0.101.6.430-434 · 0.53 Impact Factor

  • Psychological Reports 10/2007; 101(2):430-434. DOI:10.2466/pr0.101.2.430-434 · 0.53 Impact Factor
  • M. Pompili · D. Lester · A. Leenaars ·

    European Psychiatry 03/2007; 22. DOI:10.1016/j.eurpsy.2007.01.135 · 3.44 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: According to international and Mexican official statistics, there is a dramatic rise in suicide in Mexico; however, research in this area is severely limited. This is the first study of suicide notes from Mexico in the international literature. From a population of 747 registered suicides, a sample of 106 note-writers and 106 non-note writers was examined. Using the demographic (descriptive) scheme of Ho, Yip, Chiu, and Halliday (1998), the results indicate that note writers do not differ greatly from other suicides. The less educated understandably wrote fewer notes. The most intriguing finding was that suicide in Mexico was associated with an array of factors, notably interpersonal problems.
    Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 01/2007; 36(6):709-15. DOI:10.1521/suli.2006.36.6.709 · 1.40 Impact Factor
  • Antoon A. Leenaars ·
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Gun control is the prototypical example of controlling the environment for the means of suicide, an effective public health approach to suicide prevention. Canada's Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1977 (Bill C-51) provides an excellent opportunity to illustrate the effects of legislative gun-control laws and the impact on suicide. The research in Canada supports the significant effect of C-51 in reducing suicides and firearm suicides, even if one controls for socioeconomic factors, although not equally for all ages. The young, a high-risk group, show the most significant decrease, without significant substitution of other methods (displacement). Studies on gun-control laws from New Zealand, the United States, and Australia support the Canadian findings. It is concluded that, although not equally applicable in all countries, gun control may well have significant applications in reducing suicide worldwide.
    Crisis The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention 01/2007; 28(S1):50-57. DOI:10.1027/0227-5910.28.S1.50 · 1.09 Impact Factor
  • Antoon A Leenaars ·
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: One of the oldest methods of preventing death is by environmental control. Removing the sword from the defeated soldier in battle, for example, is an environmental act of prevention. Suicide, homicide, and accidental deaths can be so prevented. It has been empirically established across the globe that availability of a potential dangerous lethal means affects the rate of use of the means for death. The greater the availability implies the greater the amounts of death. This is true about suicide, the most predominant form of violence in the world. Controlling the environment is a means of decreasing the incidence of suicide. Guns are the most lethal means, not only for suicides but also for other preventable deaths such as homicides and accidents. Furthermore, it is a scientific fact, not simply opinion, that reducing the availability of
    Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 09/2006; 118(15-16):439-41. DOI:10.1007/s00508-006-0639-5 · 0.84 Impact Factor
  • Antoon A Leenaars ·
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: People who have committed a certain sin ought to be dead; I am a person who has committed that sin; therefore, I ought to be dead. Thus is the logic of a suicidal mind. Lester, Szaz, and others argue the 'sinner' should always be allowed to kill him/herself. Shneidman, Leenaars and others do not agree. Once one knows the suicidal mind, it is easy to conclude the suicidal mind is not rational. The first premise is false! Therefore, the question is not, "Is suicide rational?" but "What is suicide?." Once you know the suicidal mind, you will agree with Shneidman and Leenaars, not Lester. Is it a good death if the sinner kills him/herself because he/she committed a certain sin?
    Death Studies 07/2006; 30(6):539-53. DOI:10.1080/07481180600742525 · 0.92 Impact Factor
  • Antoon A Leenaars ·
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This review article outlines the research basis for an effective approach to psychotherapy with suicidal people. It answers the question, "Is psychotherapy effective with suicidal people?" Based on the notable historical publications and the most recent (Lambert, 2004), it is shown that psychotherapy works, largely because there are commonalities (i.e., common factors) that may be the overriding important factor in all forms of psychotherapy. The therapeutic relationship is primary; this and other common factors are illustrated with suicidal people. Patient qualities, therapist qualities, and a multi-modal or multi-component approach are reviewed. On an empirical basis, it is concluded that one has to be person-centered (or patient centered): You have to know whom you are treating.
    Archives of Suicide Research 02/2006; 10(4):305-22. DOI:10.1080/13811110600790710 · 1.64 Impact Factor
  • Antoon A Leenaars ·
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Indigenous people around the world have the highest suicide risk of any identifiable cultural (or ethnic) group. It is a youth epidemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for action; this special issue of Archives of Suicide Research (ASR) is an attempt to heed this call. Scholars, indigenous and non-indigenous, present data from the Arctic, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and other regions. It is concluded that not only data, but also explanations are needed. Suicide is multi determined. Colonialism and its associated genocide are, however, cited as a common factor. Yet, much greater cooperative international efforts are needed to not only understand, but also predict and control the epidemic.
    Archives of Suicide Research 02/2006; 10(2):103-15. DOI:10.1080/13811110600556624 · 1.64 Impact Factor
  • Antoon A Leenaars ·

    Archives of Suicide Research 02/2006; 10(1):99. DOI:10.1080/13811110500406235 · 1.64 Impact Factor
  • Slavica Selakovic-Bursic · Elisabeth Haramic · Antoon A Leenaars ·
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The epidemiology of suicide in Serbia and Montenegro from 1989 to 2003, a period of civil war, is presented. Following the break-up of former Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro underwent a period of war from 1991-1994 and another in 1999. During the war years, the number of suicides increased, reaching its peak in 1993. Male suicides outnumbered female suicides by a ratio of 2:1. Male suicides decreased slightly after the war of 1991-1994 only to rise in 1997 and continue at this higher level throughout the nineties. In Serbia alone, male suicide reached its peak in 2002 (nearly 29/100,000). The methods of suicide changed significantly, with the use of firearms doubling during and after the war years. Speculations are offered about the findings, many consistent with Durkheim's classical hypothesis concerning suicide and unpopular wars.
    Archives of Suicide Research 02/2006; 10(3):225-38. DOI:10.1080/13811110600582406 · 1.64 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Suicidal thought is a risk factor and a stage in the suicidal process from planning to attempting and dying by suicide. To date, studies on suicidal thought in the general population, especially in Asian communities, have been limited. The WHO SUPRE-MISS (the multisite intervention study on suicidal behaviours) community survey questionnaire was filled in for 2,280 randomly selected residents of the DongDa district of Hanoi, Vietnam by means of face-to-face interviews. This multi-factor questionnaire includes such variables as sociodemographic information, suicidal thought and history of suicide attempts, physical health, alcohol consumption and medication. Prevalence rates for life time suicidal thoughts, suicide plans and suicide attempts were 8.9%, 1.1% and 0.4% respectively. Suicidal thoughts are associated with multiple characteristics, such as female gender, single/widowed/separated/divorced marital status, low income, lifestyle (use of alcohol, sedatives and pain relief medication), but not with low education or employment status. Having no religion and being a Buddhist appear to be protective factors for suicidal thought. The ratio of suicidal thoughts, suicide plans and suicide attempts on a lifetime basis is 22.3:2.8:1. In Vietnam, as in Western and other Asian countries, suicidal thoughts are associated with similar negative psychosocial risk factors, lifestyle and emotional problems, which implies that suicide preventive measure developed elsewhere can be adjusted to Vietnamese condition. Understanding the unique and common risks in a culture may assist in prediction and control.
    BMC Public Health 02/2006; 6(1):76. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-6-76 · 2.26 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Shneidman's Psychological Pain Assessment Scale (PPAS) was explored for its validity and reliability. The test-retest reliability of the measures was quite modest for a 28-day interval. In a sample of undergraduate students, measures of psychache were significantly associated with prior suicidality; yet, the PPAS had only a modest degree of validity. More detailed study is warranted, before final conclusions can be made.
    OMEGA--Journal of Death and Dying 05/2005; 50(4):301-307. DOI:10.2190/WH9X-80M3-NJ54-5GCU · 0.44 Impact Factor
  • Banwari Lal Meel · Antoon A Leenaars ·
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: HIV/AIDS is an alarming illness worldwide. It is known to have a significant association to suicide, despite a lack of in depth study. Early studies suggested suicide risk 20 to 36 times higher than the general population, but more recent trends in America show a decline. This is not true in Africa, including the region of Eastern Province, South Africa. There is abundant political and health discussion, but little study. This article presents descriptive statistics and case histories. These beginning studies must be augmented by comprehensive study of not only the epidemiology, but also the psychological and social correlates. Regrettably, there are numerous obstacles to such study in South Africa.
    Archives of Suicide Research 02/2005; 9(1):69-75. DOI:10.1080/13811110590512958 · 1.64 Impact Factor
  • Prakarn Thomyangkoon · Antoon A Leenaars · Danuta Wasserman ·
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The epidemiology of suicide in Thailand from 1977-2002 was presented. In the years 1977 and 2002, the suicide rates were 5.9 and 7.8 per 100,000 population. This is low compared to nearby Asian countries. The highest suicide rate was 8.6 per 100,000 in the year 1999, a time of economic crisis. The ratio of male to female suicide rate was 1.14:1 in the year 1977 and increased to 3.16:1 in the year 2002. The highest suicide rate was in young males, ages 25-29 and the trend shows an increase. Despite the increasing incidence, there has been little study to date; however, HIV/AIDS has been identified as a major risk factor.
    Archives of Suicide Research 02/2005; 9(4):361-8. DOI:10.1080/13811110500248066 · 1.64 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Antoon A Leenaars ·
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Object: Suicide is a multi-dimensional event. A report by the World Health Organization (WHO) isolated a series of effective public health tactics in preventing suicide. Method: This paper presents a selective review of research-based examples. Results: Public education about suicide has been controversial, but today the preponderance of studies has shown the positive impact of education. Controlling the environment has been, according to the WHO report, one of the most effective strategies; for examples, a strict anti-alcohol policy in the former USSR as part of perestroika and means restriction, exemplified by gun control legislation in Canada. Toning down of media reports, for example, to address subway suicides in Vienna, Austria, has also been shown to be effective. Conclusions: It is concluded that public health strategies are one viable way of preventing suicide.

Publication Stats

1k Citations
142.09 Total Impact Points


  • 2010-2012
    • Norwegian Institute of Public Health
      • • Department of Health Surveillance and Suicide Prevention
      • • Division for Mental Health
      Kristiania (historical), Oslo County, Norway
    • Health Canada
      Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 1996-2008
    • Leiden University
      Leyden, South Holland, Netherlands
  • 2007
    • University of Alberta
      Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 2006
    • Đại học Y Hà Nội
      Hà Nội, Ha Nội, Vietnam
  • 2005
    • Karolinska Institutet
      • Department of Public Health Sciences
      Сольна, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 1991-2005
    • The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
      • Department of Psychology
      New Jersey, United States
  • 1989-2003
    • Government of Ontario, Canada
      XIA, Ontario, Canada
  • 1999
    • Tel Aviv University
      Tell Afif, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 1985-1997
    • University of Windsor
      • Department of Psychology
      Windsor, Ontario, Canada
  • 1993-1995
    • The University of Arizona
      • Department of Psychology
      Tucson, Arizona, United States
  • 1992
    • Philadelphia ZOO
      Filadelfia, Pennsylvania, United States