Penacide: A Holistic, Qualitative Case Study Exploring the Lived Experience of Pain and Suffering in an Adult Who Has Had a History of Multiple Suicide Attempts: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)



Date of Award

Fall 2018


When we speak of unnatural causes of death, we are typically referring to the completion of the act of suicide. What is not spoken is the pain the individual has endured before completing the act of suicide, also known as penacide. It is unclear the role suffering plays in the lives of the individuals who attempt to take their own lives. The desire to end the insufferable pain, as opposed to the desire to actually die, is neglected in the suicide literature. It is essential to not only gain a better understanding of the lived experience of suffering and penacide in the lives of suicidal individuals, but also to gain a better understanding of how suffering and penacide interfaces between ideation and the attempt or completion of the act of suicide. In this research study, I addressed the need to understand this complex and heretofore unexamined phenomenological experience. The aim of this research was to move closer to finding a better way for clinicians to understand his or her suicidal clients and give a voice to the ineffable suffering in his or her client's lives. The suffering can be caused by uncontrolled emotions or suffering from a physical illness. In this research study, I addressed the lived experience of those standing in the abyss between penacide and suicide. It is hoped that the understanding of this suffering will lead to solutions for clinicians who are struggling in their work with suicidal individuals.


Linda H. Ball

Subject Categories

Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences