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Problem solving in suicidal individuals Nichol, Diane Sue 1969

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PROBLEM SOLVING IN SUICIDAL INDIVIDUALS by DIANE SUE NICHOL B.A., U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1966 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OP THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OP MASTER OP ARTS i n the Department of PSYCHOLOGY We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OP BRITISH COLUMBIA 1969 r In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C olumbia, I a g r e e t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and Study. I f u r t h e r a g r e e t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u rposes may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s thes,is f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada i ABSTRACT The present study in v e s t i g a t e d two aspects of suicide which, to date, had received l i t t l e a t t e n t i o n . These are problem-solving behavior and perception. In terms of problem-solving behavior, t h i s study estab-l i s h e d ( l ) that s u i c i d a l patients show a l e s s e r sense of concern about self-improvement and r e l i g i o n than non-suicidal patients; (2) that s u i c i d a l patients are s i g n i f i c a n t l y more passive and l e s s competitive i n t h e i r mode of response to problems than non-suicidal patients; and (3) that s u i c i d a l i n d i v i d u a l s tend to become r i g i d more quickly i n s t r e s s f u l problem-solving s i t u a t i o n s than non-suicidal i n d i v i d u a l s . In the area of perception, i t was established that s u i c i d a l patients are s i g n i f i c a n t l y more f i e l d -dependent than non-suicidal p a t i e n t s . In add i t i o n , the r e s u l t s of i n v e s t i g a t i n g these two aspects of s u i c i d a l behavior contributed to a better understanding of the pe r s o n a l i t y make-up of s u i c i d a l i n d i v i d u a l s . i i TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE I. REVIEW OF LITERATURE 1 Suicide 1 The D e f i n i t i o n of Suicide 1 Theories of Suicide 3 1. The Sociology of Suicide 3 (a) M a r i t a l status 8 (b) Age, sex and race 8 (c) Method 9 (d) Climate (and time) 10 (e) Urban and r u r a l d i f f e r e n c e s 10 (f ) Socio-economic status 12 (g) War 12 2. The Psychology of Suicide 13 (a) Sigmund Freud 13 (b) Other Psychoanalytic Theories 15 (c) Non-psychoanalytic Theories 17 R i g i d i t y 21 Theories of R i g i d i t y 21 1. Psychoanalytic . . 2 1 (a) Franz Alexander 22 (b) A l f r e d Adler 22 (c) Karen Horney 23 (d) E r i c h Fromm 23 i i i CHAPTER P A G E 2. Other Psychological Theories 24 (a) Goldstein 24 (b) Werner 25 (c) Lewin 25 3. Factor-analytic Studies 27 (a) Spearman 27 (b) Cattell 28 (c) Fisher 29 Luchins 1 Theory: The Einstellung Effect 29 Tests of Rigidity 37 1. Einstellung tests 38 2. Concept formation tests 38 5. Personality tests 38 4. Other r i g i d i t y tests 39 Perception 41 II. PROCEDURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Subject Population • 48 1. Experimental Group 48 2. Control Group • 49 3. Obtained Groups 49 C l i n i c a l Impressions: The Typical Suicidal Subject 53 Test Administration 55 1. The Mooney Problem Check List 56 2. The Test of Social Insight 57 3. The Water Jar Problems 58 i v CHAPTER pAGE 4. The Embedded Figures Test ". . 59 R e l i a b i l i t y and Validity of Tests 62 III. RESULTS 64 1. The Mooney Problem Check List 64 2. The Test of Social Insight . 65 3. The Water Jar Test 65 4. The Embedded Figures Test 67 IV. DISCUSSION 69 V. SUMMARY 73 VI. REFERENCES 75 V LIST OF TABLES TABLE PAGE I The E i n s t e l l u n g E f f e c t f o r ' P l a i n and 'Don't be b l i n d ' Groups 33 II Obtained Scores of S u i c i d a l and Non-suicidal Patients on 9 Variables of the Mooney Problem Check L i s t 64 I I I Obtained Scores of S u i c i d a l and Non-suicidal Patients on 5 Variables of the Test of S o c i a l Insight 65 IV Scores ( i n Seconds) of S u i c i d a l and Non-suicidal Patients on Luchins' Water Jar Problem Test 66 V The E i n s t e l l u n g E f f e c t f o r S u i c i d a l and Non-suicidal Patients 67 VI Scores ( i n Seconds) of S u i c i d a l and Non-suicidal Patients on the Embedded Figures Test 68 LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE PAGE 1. Main Variables and Categories of P r e d i c t i o n Model 20 2. An Example of Simple and Complex Figures from the Embedded Figures Test 61 ACM0V7LEDGMENTS I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness to Dr. Alcon G-. Devries, the chairman of my th e s i s committee. An author!ty~in the f i e l d of sui c i d e prevention, Dr. Devries* unselfish, contributions of time, e f f o r t and ideas proved invaluable to me i n the w r i t i n g of t h i s paper. I am also g r a t e f u l f o r the help and encouragement off e r e d to me by the second member of my t h e s i s committee, Dr. Edro I. S i g n o r i . F i n a l l y , I should l i k e to express my appreciation to the Directors of the Riverview Hospital at Essondale f o r allowing me to use the f a c i l i t i e s of the h o s p i t a l f o r my research. I would also l i k e to thank the s t a f f and patients at the Crease C l i n i c and Center Lawn Unit f o r t h e i r i n t e r e s t and cooperation. PROBLEM SOLVING IS SUICIDAL INDIVIDUALS I. REVIEW OP LITERATURE Suicide Psychology claims as one of i t s p r i n c i p a l goals the understanding and p r e d i c t i o n of human behavior. In pursuit of t h i s goal, the profession has in v e s t i g a t e d and probed v i r t u a l l y every aspect of the human condition. One aspect that has thus^experienced the occasional psychological probing i s s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e or s u i c i d a l behavior. In s p i t e of the challenge of the p r e d i c t i o n and treatment of *this type of behavior, l i t t l e systematic experimentally oriented research has been done i n the area. This seems strange when one considers the f a c t s . Suicide i s one of the ten leading causes of death i n North America. (Rate i n I960 per 100,000 population i s 10.6 f o r the U.S., 7.5 f o r Canada.) I t pervades a l l l e v e l s of s o c i e t y . It i s behavior more or l e s s unique to man. To date, however, psychology has shown but meagre i n t e r e s t i n the t o p i c . The random forays i n t o the f i e l d made by pioneer workers have been l a r g e l y unsystematic and sporadic i n nature. Most of these have been d e s c r i p t i v e works, often redundant and commonly prefaced by a long review of the v i t a l s t a t i s t i c s . Occasionally a good piece of experimental research has appeared. But these are rare because of the many p r a c t i c a l considerations the would-be experimenter must overcome. Of course s u i c i d a l phenomena are extremely complex, as most i n v e s t i -gators i n the area have r a p i d l y discovered. Consider, f o r instance, the confusion that e x i s t s about d e f i n i t i o n s . The D e f i n i t i o n of Suicide Because su i c i d e i s such an involved, multi-dimensional t o p i c , success-f u l l y d e f i n i n g i t has proved to be an almost insurmountable task. L i t e r a l l y 2 dozens of tentative definitions exist. In fact, ITeuringer (1962) found that there were twelve different categories of definitions. Devries (1968) reduced this to three; definitions i n terms of consequent conditions, ante-cedent conditions and intervening variables. (a) Consequent conditions: Most commonly the term 'suicide* i s applied indiscriminately to a number of different categories of consequent behavior. Thus a person i s labeled as 'suicidal' when he commits, attempts or threatens suicide, makes suicidal gestures, displays suicidal ideation or behaves i n generally self-destructive ways. Whether these categories are distinct or overlapping has not been established. (b) Antecedent conditions: The majority of theorists i n the f i e l d think of suicide i n terms of antecedent conditions. The self-destructive act occurs 'because o f , *as the result o f or 'as the effect o f some causal agent. Identifying this causal agent therefore becomes of primary importance. "A low degree of integration i n social groups" was labeled by Durkheim (1897) and Gibbs and Martin (1958) as the most significant antecedent condition; while for Henry and Short (1954) i t i s "lack of external restraint over behavior". Crichton-Miller (l93l) considered pain and suffering to be the principal motives for suicide; for Lewis ( l95l) and Sainsbury (1955) i t i s a sense of isolation. Some of the many other causal agents that have been proposed are: alcoholism (Stenback et a l , 1965); loss of a loved object (Hendrin, 195l); interpersonal conflict (Pellner, 196l); endocrine imbalance (Bonciu et a l , 1964) and poor weather conditions (Mills, 1934). (c) Intervening variables: Between the cause and effect of any action (the antecedent and consequent conditions) there are a number of intervening variables. In the case of suicide, the most important intervening variable i s the suicidal individual himself. Therefore, theories that deal 3 with the i n d i v i d u a l and h i s i n t e n t i o n s are c l a s s i f i e d i n t h i s category. Included among them are most psychoanalytic theories (Freud, 1924; Menninger, 1938) as they deal e x c l u s i v e l y with i n t r a - p s y c h i c phenomena. Also included are those that consider suicide attempts to be ( l ) c r i e s f o r help (Farberow and Shneidman, 1961; Todlan, 1962); (2) attempts to manipulate the environ-ment (Finn, 1955; Farberow and Shneidman, 1961; Toolan, 1962); or (3) a desire to reunite with a l o s t love-object (Toolan, 1962). Theories of Suicide The complexity of s u i c i d e behavior i s a phenomena that researchers are j u s t beginning to face. The f i r s t s c i e n t i f i c i n v e s t i g a t i o n s of s u i c i d e were undertaken by a number of physicians and p s y c h i a t r i s t s of the e a r l y 19th century. Under-standably r e s t r i c t i n g t h e i r i n v e s t i g a t i o n s to the purely medical aspects of s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n , they a t t r i b u t e d the act to p a t h o l o g i c a l conditions of the b r a i n or of other organs. Winslow (1840, c i t e d by W a l l i s , I960, p. 63), f o r example, having performed autopsies on several s u i c i d e s , t o l d of f i n d i n g "diseases and l e s i o n s " of the b r a i n , such as "chronic meningitis" and " v a r i -cose veins" and "diseases and l e s i o n s of other organs", such as "degeneracy of the l i v e r and kidneys", "abnormal p o s i t i o n of stomach" and abnormal tumors. On the basis of these fi n d i n g s he concluded that s u i c i d e was d i r e c t l y r e l a t e d to c e r t a i n 'morbid' conditions of the organism. Winslow*s theory i s representative of the view held by the great majority of p r o f e s s i o n a l s r i g h t up u n t i l the time of Emile Durkheim and Sigmund Freud, the two men who most influenced the subsequent course of s u i c i d e research. 1. The Sociology of Suicide 4 We have i n f a c t shown that f o r each s o c i a l group there i s a s p e c i f i c tendency to sui c i d e explained n e i t h e r by the organic-psychic c o n s t i t u t i o n of i n d i v i d u a l s nor the nature of the ph y s i c a l environment. Consequently, by elimination^ i t must n e c e s s a r i l y depend upon s o c i a l causes and be i t s e l f a c o l l e c -t i v e phenomenon. (Durkheim, 1897» p. 140) T h i s , i n essence, i s Durkheim's theory: There e x i s t s no " d e f i n i t e p r e d i s p o s i t i o n " to s u i c i d e , except i n the insane. Thus i t i s a phenomenon separate and d i s t i n c t from i n d i v i d u a l motivation, depending instead upon the "progressive a c t i o n of s o c i a l l i f e " and the society's " c o l l e c t i v e i n c l i n a t i o n " towards s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n , circumstances which permit but do not s p e c i f i c a l l y cause s u i c i d e . (Thus) i n Catholicism, where common sentiments r i g o r o u s l y guide the i n d i v i d u a l and condemn the taking of one's own l i f e , the sui c i d e rate i s low. Where common sentiments tend to l a y great s t r e s s on in d i v i d u a l i s m , innovation and free thought, the hold over the i n d i v i d u a l slakens, he i s tenuously bound to so c i e t y , and can more e a s i l y be l e d to suicide.. This he f e l t to be true of Protestantism i n general. ( W a l l i s , I960, p. 9) Durkheim f u r t h e r believed that, as sui c i d e i s s o c i a l l y determined, the d i f f e r e n t types of sui c i d e can be i d e n t i f i e d and c l a s s i f i e d by the causes which produced them. He thus defined three s u i c i d e categories: e g o i s t i c , a l t r u i s t i c and anomic. E g o i s t i c s u i c i d e r e s u l t s from: ( l ) "the lack of i n t e g r a t i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l i n t o the society"; (2) excessive in d i v i d u a l i s m ; or (3) a sense of s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n when an inadequate person f i n d s himself cut o f f from the group and forced to r e l y upon h i s own resources. Durkheim states that the rate of e g o i s t i c s u i c i d e v a r i e s i n v e r s e l y with: ( l ) the degree of i n t e g r a t i o n of r e l i g i o u s society; (2) the degree of i n t e g r a t i o n of domestic society; (3) the degree of i n t e g r a t i o n of p o l i t i c a l s o c i e t y . He writes 5 This grouping shows that whereas these d i f f e r e n t s o c i e t i e s have a moderating influence upon s u i c i d e , t h i s i s due not to s p e c i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of each but to a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c common to a l l . R e l i g i o n does, not owe i t s e f f i c a c y to the s p e c i a l nature of r e l i g i o u s sentiments, since domestic and p o l i t i c a l s o c i e t i e s both produce the same e f f e c t s when strongly integrated. . . . Inversely, i t i s not the s p e c i f i c nature of domestic or p o l i -t i c a l t i e which can explain the immunity they confer, since r e l i g i o u s ; .society has the same advantage. The'"cause can only be found i n a sing l e q u a l i t y possessed by, a l l these s o c i a l groups, though perhaps to varying degrees. The only q u a l i t y s a t i s f y i n g t h i s condition i s that they are a l l strongly integrated s o c i a l groups. So we reach the general conclusion: s u i c i d e v a r i e s i n v e r s e l y with the degree of i n t e g r a t i o n of the s o c i a l groups of which the i n d i v i d u a l forms a pa r t . (Durkheim, 1897, pp. 208-209) A l t r u i s t i c s uicide r e s u l t s from "an over-integration of the i n d i v i -dual with s o c i e t y " . Because of the extremely cohesive nature of some s o c i e t i e s , the i n d i v i d u a l loses any sense of personal i d e n t i t y and value. Hence, should the customs of the society demand the s a c r i f i c e of s e l f through s u i c i d e , the 'individual's sense of duty compels him to obey. The Indian p r a c t i c e of suttee, the Japanese h a r i - k a r i deaths, and t h e i r kami-kaze p i l o t s are examples of t h i s kind of society p r a c t i c e . As Durkheim puts i t : His person has so l i t t l e value that attacks upon i t by i n d i v i -duals receive only r e l a t i v e l y weak r e s t r a i n t . I t i s thus natural f o r him. to be yet l e s s protected against colle c t i v e . ; n e c e s s i t i e s and that s o c i e t y should not h e s i t a t e , f o r the very s l i g h t e s t reason, to b i d him end a l i f e i t values so l i t t l e , ( i b i d , p. 22l) Anomic suicide i s an expression of the absence f o r the i n d i v i d u a l of the d i s c i p l i n e and regulations customarily prescribed by so c i e t y . This r e s u l t s from a v i o l e n t d i s r u p t i o n of the society's equilibrium. Such d i s -ruption may occur because of an economic c r i s i s , such as the U.S. stock-market crash of '29, or even i n a fortunate c r i s i s , " t h e r e f f e c t of which i s abruptly to enhance a country's p r o s p e r i t y " . W a l l i s writes (i960, p. 35) 6 Economic d i s a s t e r s , or abrupt changes i n the d i s t r i b u t i o n of wealth and power . . . . produce a d i s e q u i l i b r i u m , f a c i l i t a t e excessive s o c i a l m o b i l i t y , promote a whetting of unsatiable economic appetites and a weakening of the influence of t r a d i -t i o n a l r u l e s , and found conditions to which the i n d i v i d u a l cannot adapt without extreme d i f f i c u l t y . As these d i s r u p t i v e forces then r e i n f o r c e each other, a state of deregulation or anomie e x i s t s . Durkheim 1s theory of s u i c i d e , considered a c l a s s i c i n the f i e l d of sociology, constituted a frame-of-reference f o r much of the s o c i o l o g i c a l research which followed. One important example of such research was done by Durkheim's student, Maurice Halbwachs. Halbwachs recognized the necessity of r e l a t i n g Durkheim's s o c i o l o -g i c a l approach to sui c i d e to that of psychiatry. As Parsons (1949, p. 366) has noted, "Halbwachs sa\f no a n t i t h e s i s between the s o c i a l and psychological explanation of su i c i d e ; rather he considered them complementary". Thus he attempted to devise a theory of causation which would avoid "the t r a d i t i o n a l dual approaches" of the two d i s c i p l i n e s . He began by examining suicide i n r e l a t i o n to comparative urban and r u r a l trends i n rates i n d i f f e r e n t countries. He then turned to a r e -examination of Durkheim*s theory, studying i t s s i m i l a r i t i e s t o , and d i f f e r -ences from, the many p s y c h i a t r i c theories extant at the time. He reached the conclusion that "Ichere i s but one cause f o r suicideJ the detachment of the i n d i v i d u a l from society and h i s r e s u l t i n g sense of s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n . . . . i t matters l i t t l e whether i s o l a t i o n has i t s roots i n psychic d i s f u n c t i o n -i n g or i n external conditions" ( W a l l i s , I960, p. 42). (Halbwachs* theory i s considered by many to be "an indispensable c o r r e c t i v e " or "necessary complement" to Durkheim's.) Another major s o c i o l o g i c a l study i n s p i r e d by Durkheim was done by Gibbs and Martin (1958). Gibbs and Martin set out to e m p i r i c a l l y t e s t Durkheim's 7 conclusion that "suicide varies inversely with the degree of integration of the social groups" (Durkheim, 1897, p. 209). For research purposes they chose, as a measure of social integration, the "degree of status integration" i n the population. This, i n turn, was measured by marital status ( i . e . the proportion of individuals married, widowed, single and divorced). They then turned to the U.S. v i t a l s t a t i s t i c s tables for the years 1949-1951. For these years the highest average annual suicide rate was recorded for males i n the 60-64 year age group. In terms of marital status, the group was ranked proportionately as (.793) married, (.096) widowed, (.086) single, and (.025) divorced. The suicide rates corres-ponding to each group were: 36.2, 64.7, 76.4 and 111.1. "Thus, without exception, the rank order of the status integration measure . .,. . predicts the rank order of the suicide rate: there i s a consistent inverse relationship" (Gibbs and Martin, 1958, p. 157). A third sociological study of some importance i s Henry and Short's work on suicide and homicide (1954). It was hypothesized that both acts were aggressive responses to frustration, differing only i n their choice of a victim. Why should one frustrated individual direct his aggression inward against himself, while the other directs i t outward against another? Henry and Short found that their answer lay i n " strength of external restraint", by which i s meant "the degree to which behavior i s required to conform to the demands and expectations of other persons". the degree of legitimization of. other-oriented aggression consequent to aggression varies positively with the strength of external restraint over behavior. When behavior i s required to conform r i g i d l y to the demands and expectations of others (when external restrains are strong), the expression of aggression against others i s legitimized. When external 8 r e s t r a i n t s are weak, other-oriented aggression consequent to f r u s t r a t i o n f a i l s to be l e g i t i m i z e d and the aggression i s di r e c t e d against the s e l f . (Henry and Short, 1954, p. 18) There have been a number of other empirical i n v e s t i g a t i o n s of Durkheim*s formulations, p a r t i c u l a r l y with regard to s t a t i s t i c a l explora-t i o n and the c o r r e l a t i o n of s o c i o l o g i c a l v a r i a b l e s . These i n v e s t i g a t i o n s have added many s i g n i f i c a n t and i n t e r e s t i n g dimensions to our understanding of the sui c i d e phenomenon, i n c l u d i n g i t s r e l a t i o n s h i p to m a r i t a l status; age, sex and race; method; climate; urban and r u r a l d i f f e r e n c e s ; socio-economic status; and war. (a) M a r i t a l status; Marriage has the e f f e c t of reducing the suicide r a t e . Divorce tends to increase i t . These and other research f i n d i n g s were summed up by Henry and Short ( i n Clues to Suicide. 1957, pp. 61-62) as follows: The degree of involvement i n meaningful r e l a t i o n s h i p s with other persons i s greater, on the average, f o r the married than f o r the s i n g l e , widowed, or divorced. The married are by d e f i n i t i o n involved i n at l e a s t one more meaningful r e l a t i o n s h i p than the nonmarried. When the e f f e c t s of age and sex are held constant, the s u i c i d e r a t e of the married i s lower than the rate of the s i n g l e , the xri.dowed, or the divorced. ^ S u i c i d e i s highest f o r the divorced. When the f a c t o r of age i s held constant, s u i c i d e i s " higher f o r the widowed than i t i s f o r the s i n g l e , up to the age of t h i r t y - f i v e . Prom age t h i r t y - f i v e on, however, the sui c i d e rate of the s i n g l e i s higher than that of the widowed. Strength of the r e l a t i o n a l system i s r e l a t e d to the widowed and s i n g l e cate-gories i n an extremely complex manner. I t i s probably weaker f o r the widowed than f o r the s i n g l e at the younger ages, when widow-hood comes as a greater shock and young family r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s are most l i k e l y to be disrupted. On the other hand, i t i s probably stronger f o r the widowed during the older age periods, when they are more l i k e l y to have the b e n e f i t of r e l a t i o n s with t h e i r c h i l d r e n grown to adulthood and when the single f i n d the r e l a t i o n s h i p s c u r t a i l e d by inc r e a s i n g morality of t h e i r age group. (b) Age, sex and race: Each year i n the U.S. and Canada approximately 20,000 people take t h e i r own l i v e s . v More than two-thirds of the 20,000 are white males. For t h i s group, the suicide rate increases p r e c i p i t o u s l y with age. 9 In the 20-24 age range there are approximately 10 suicides per 100,000 population. This increases to 40 i n the 40-54 age range, and then becomes 66 per 100,000 f o r males over 74 years. The suicide rate f o r white females does not show as much increase with age. In adolescence the rate f o r g i r l s i s nearly as high as that f o r boys, p o s s i b l y because of the complications of pregnancy out of wedlock (Dublin and Bunzel, 1933, p. 45). In the age range 20 to 24, the f i g u r e i s 6 per 100,000 population. This increases to about 10 i n the range 40-54 years of age, and then remains f a i r l y constant. Thus, as Dublin points out (1963, p. 23), "Suicide may be c a l l e d a masculine type of behavior at the younger ages the rates f o r males are from three to four times those of females, (and) a f t e r age 85 the r a t i o i s approximately ten to one." Negroes generally have a much lower suicide rate than do whites. Thus, i n the U.S., the suicide rate f o r Negro males i s l e s s than one-half that f o r white males, regardless of the age group involved. The rate f o r Negro women i s also correspondingly lower. This r e l a t i v e l y low rate f o r Negroes has been p r e t t y w e l l substantiated by most i n v e s t i g a t o r s i n many parts of the world. Even where the population i s predominantly Negro, as i n the Union of South A f r i c a , Negro suicides were l e s s than 1.0 i n 100,000 versus a white suicide rate of between 9.0 and 12.0 f o r the years 1952-1954. (Based on U.N. Demographic Index, 1957) (c) Method; As we have j u s t shown, the great majority of suicides are com-mitted by men. However, women attempting s u i c i d e outnumber the men by three times. Why women should make so many attempts and succeed so seldom i s a matter of debate. 0 ne possible explanation f o r the sex-ratio i n sui c i d e i s the method chosen. As Dublin (1963, p. 4l) has noted, "Men are l i k e l y to choose violence and leave l i t t l e or no margin f o r chance or er r o r , (eg. f i r e -10 arms and explosives, hanging and strangulation, e t c . ) . Women, on the other hand, t r a d i t i o n a l l y have chosen l e s s v i o l e n t methods which also involve an important f a c t o r — t i m e f o r rescue and r e s u s c i t a t i o n (eg. poisoning, b a r b i -turates, asphyxiation)". (d) Climate (and time): E a r l y i n v e s t i g a t o r s of suicide phenomena ( M o r s e l l i , 1881; Durkheim, 1897; Miner, 1922). agreed unanimously that the greatest number of s u i c i d e s occur i n the. spring and e a r l y summer, and the fewest i n the winter season. They di d not agree so w e l l about the cause of t h i s . The best explanation, put f o r t h by Durkheim, suggested that i t was not so much the weather, as the change i n s o c i a l l i f e because of i t , that influenced the s u i c i d e r a t e . Coleman (l950) substantiated these e a r l i e r findings and added the f a c t that the l a r g e s t number of suicides occur during the morning, on Monday and Tuesday. E a r l y morning hours were also considered c r i t i c a l by Hirsh (i960). Contrary f i n d i n g s have been reported i n two other studies (Pokorny, I960; Shneidman and Farberow, 196l). In neither instance were s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s found f o r the time of day, week or month. However, they d i d f i n d a " s l i g h t l y lower" incidence on Monday, and a " s l i g h t l y higher" one during December and January! A d i f f e r e n t approach to the question of suicide and weather was adopted by M i l l s (l934). He found that A strong suggestion of storm e f f e c t i s seen i n the d i s t r i b u t i o n of s u i c i d e s (and homicides) i n North American c i t i e s . The rates are . .. . . highest . . . . where barometric pressure and temperature changes are most frequent and severe. Suicides show a d e f i n i t e time r e l a t i o n -ship to weather changes as high- and low-pressure centres approach and pass by. With f a l l i n g pressure and r i s i n g temperatures, suicides r a p i d l y r i s e . Most peaks i n frequency occur at the time of a low-pressure c r i s i s . With r i s i n g pressure and f a l l i n g temperature few suicides occur. (e) Urban and r u r a l d i f f e r e n c e s ; Studies by Cavan (l928), Halbwachs (l930), and Dublin and Bunzel (1933) have established that ( l ) r u r a l areas tend to 11 have very low rates of s u i c i d e , and (2) conversely, the l a r g e r a c i t y ' s population, the higher i t s s u i c i d e r a t e . Most a u t h o r i t i e s have off e r e d a s i m i l a r explanation f o r t h i s d i s p a r i t y between r u r a l and urban s u i c i d e r a t e s . The f o l l o w i n g quotation (Henry and Short, i n Clues to Suicide. 1957, p. 61) i s a f a i r statement of t h i s explanation. One of the c r i t i c a l d i fferences between r u r a l and urban l i v i n g i s i n the s t a b i l i t y and c o n t i n u i t y of family and neighborhood l i f e . The strong c o n t r o l exercised by the neighbors on the farm or i n the small town contrasts sharply w i t h the anonymity and impersonality of l i f e i n the c i t y . These c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the c i t y are magnified i n the c e n t r a l , disorganised sectors. The steady r i s e i n suicide from the t i g h t l y knit, r u r a l community to the anonymity of the c i t y may r e f l e c t the strong r e l a t i o n a l systems of the r u r a l small-town dweller and the r e l a t i v e i s o l a t i o n from meaningful r e l a t i o n s h i p s of many of the inhabitants of large c i t i e s . This dehumanizing aspect of c i t y l i f e has been emphasized i n three separate studies of e c o l o g i c a l d i s t r i b u t i o n . Cavan (1928) found, f o r example, that the four sections of Chicago with the highest suicide rates (during the years 1919 and 1921) were charac-t e r i z e d by s h i f t i n g populations and a preponderance of cheap h o t e l s , rooming houses and restaurants. In short, they were "areas of extreme s o c i a l and personal disorganization." A study done i n London by Sainsbury (1955) found that c e r t a i n boroughs i n the c i t y had a c o n s i s t e n t l y high suicide r a t e . An intensive i n v e s t i g a t i o n of these boroughs revealed a s i g n i f i c a n t c o r r e l a t i o n of suicide rates with rates f o r the following c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s : s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n (eg. persons l i v i n g alone, and i n boarding houses); s o c i a l m o b i l i t y (eg. d a i l y turnover of population, and number of immigrants); and two of the i n d i c e s of s o c i a l d i s o r g a n i -zation (divorce and i l l e g i t i m a c y ) . (Sainsbury, 1955» p. 90) . Four years e a r l i e r a s i m i l a r study of London boroughs had been done by Lewis ( l 9 5 l ) . His f i n d i n g that "the highest rate of c o r r e l a t i o n was between the suicide rate and the i s o l a t i o n r a t e " substantiates Sainsbury's r e s u l t s . 12 ( f ) Socio-economic status; The highest rate of s u i c i d e i s found at the upper end of the socio-economic s c a l e , among business men and p r o f e s s i o n a l s . Why t h i s should be so i s not absolutely c l e a r . It may be that members of the upper classes carry heavier burdens of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . Or, as Weiss (l954, p. 248) suggests, "these persons may be more a f f e c t e d by f l u c t u a t i n g economic conditions." The medical profession has the highest s i n g l e rate of s u i c i d e s . One reason f o r t h i s , suggested i n an A.M.A. e d i t o r i a l (1903), i s that "the physi-cian i s f a m i l i a r with death i n a l l i t s forms, and always has the means of s u i c i d e at hand." At the opposite end of the socio-economic continuum the suicide rate r i s e s again. However, i t i s not low economic status per se that a f f e c t s the s u i c i d e r a t e so adversely, ( i n f a c t , as Miner (1922, p. I l l ) points out, "Low economic status, when stable, i s associated with low s u i c i d e rates.") The c r u c i a l f a c t o r , therefore, i s l a c k of s t a b i l i t y . Thus coalminers, r a i l -way workers and others with steady manual labor have low s u i c i d e r a t e s , while migratory workers, domestic personnel and other labor groups characterized by 'occupational d i s c o n t i n u i t y ' have high r a t e s . (g) War: It i s an i n t e r e s t i n g f a c t that n a t i o n a l rates of s u i c i d e i n v a r i a b l y go down during periods of war. Dublin and Bunzel (l933) report, f o r instance, that "ten m i l i t a n t nations" showed a decrease i n the incidence of s u i c i d e during World War I. Stengel et a l (l958, p. 27) c i t e the Metropolitan P o l i c e reports f o r Greater London as showing a s i m i l a r decrease during the war years 1939 to 1945. There are at l e a s t three possible explanations f o r t h i s phenomenon. Dublin (l948, pamphlet) contends that t h i s lowered suicide rate r e s u l t s from "the high degree of employment and' the minimizing of personal problems during wartime." Psychoanalysts favor the theory that, when a country i s at war i t s populace i s able to d i r e c t f e e l i n g s of h o s t i l i t y and aggression outward, toward the common enemy, with a minimum of g u i l t r e s u l t i n g . Durkheim's theory (l897, p. 208) i s that "great popular wars" have the e f f e c t of f o r c i n g men "to close ranks and confront the common cause." This r e s u l t s i n a stronger sense of s o c i a l i n t e g r a t i o n , thereby lessening the i n d i v i d u a l ' s f e e l i n g of i s o l a t i o n and, i n consequence, the rate of s u i c i d e . 2. The Psychology of Suicide (a) Sigmund Freud: Freud's psychoanalytic theory of s u i c i d e grew out of the f u s i o n of two e a r l i e r t h e o r e t i c a l formulations: ( l ) the death i n s t i n c t ; and (2) the theory of depression. ( i ) The death i n s t i n c t . Freud's formulation of a 'death i n s t i n c t ' seems to'have o r i g i n a l l y grown out of h i s observations of s o l d i e r s , d u r i n g World War I. One aspect of t h e i r behavior stood out as being of p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t to him. This was the f a c t that 'shell-shocked* v i c t i m s tended to r e l i v e t h e i r more traumatic experiences i n dreams. This prompted Freud to ask (l933» p. 44), "What conative impulse could p o s s i b l y be s a t i s f i e d by t h i s reinstatement of a most p a i n f u l traumatic experience?" The pleasure p r i n c i p l e , which u n t i l then had been fundamental to Freud's theory, d i d not seem to provide an adequate answer. Instead he concluded that the s o l d i e r s * r e c u r r i n g dreams were the manifestation of an unconscious wish to r e l i v e e a r l i e r experiences, the p a i n f u l as w e l l as the pleasurable. Freud found a f u r t h e r manifestation of t h i s wish i n the tendency of "normal adults and c h i l d r e n to r e l i v e and recount previous experiences and to indulge i n r e p e t i t i v e behavior" (Luchins, 1959. p. 6). He noted too 14 that t h i s tendency becomes e s p e c i a l l y marked i n the various compulsive actions of n e u r o t i c s . This l e d Freud to conclude that There r e a l l y e x i s t s i n psychic l i f e a repetitive-compulsion which goes beyond the pleasure p r i n c i p l e . . . . and t h i s seems to us to be more p r i m i t i v e , more elementary, more i n s t i n c t i v e than the pleasure p r i n c i p l e which i s displaced by i t . (1922, pp. 24-25) The r e l a t i o n s h i p between t h i s •repetitive-compulsion* and an i n d i v i d u a l ' s i n s t i n c t s was explained by Freud as follows: At t h i s point the idea i s forced upon us that we have stumbled on the trace of a general and h i t h e r t o not c l e a r l y r e c o g n i z e d — " • or at l e a s t not expressly emphasized—characteristic of i n s t i n c t , perhaps of a l l organic l i f e . According to t h i s , an i n s t i n c t would be a tendency innate i n l i v i n g organic matter i m p e l l i n g i t toward the reinstatement of an e a r l i e r condition, one which i t had to abandon under the influence of external d i s t u r b i n g f o r c e s — a kind of organic e l a s t i c i t y , or put i t another way, the mani-f e s t a t i o n of i n e r t i a i n organic l i f e . (1922, pp. 44-45) This l i n e of reasoning l e d to Freud's hypothesis of the death i n s t i n c t as being basic to a l l l i v i n g things. The death i n s t i n c t , or Thanatos, i s "the tendency of l i v i n g matter to return to i t s o r i g i n a l inorganic s t a t e " , (i/uchins, 1959, p. 6 ) . Freud found evidence f o r t h i s s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e or death i n s t i n c t provided by another observation that he made during World War I. Thais was of the v a r i e d forms and sheer i n t e n s i t y of aggression shown by men f o r other men. He concluded from t h i s that the destructive or death i n s t i n c t i s the urge toward e f f o r t l e s s n e s s , i n e r t i a and d i s i n t e g r a t i o n , the mental c o r r e l a t e of the tendency of n o n - l i v i n g energy to d i s s i p a t e i t s e l f to the lowest possible l e v e l , and of the energy of organic l i f e to f a l l back to 'the peace of the inorganic world.and restore conditions to what they were before l i f e by i t s emergence upset them',. Every backward trend, every destructive or aggressive xr- impulse, whether dire c t e d toward oneself or outward, i s an expression of the Death i n s t i n c t . ( Kallen, 1934, p. 582) 15 ( i i ) The theory of depression. Zilboorg (1936, p. 215) » summarizing Freud's theory of depression, writes In the case of a pathological depression the patient, through identification with a person toward whom his feelings have always been highly ambivalent, loves and hates himself. Since his own , ego has become his love object, he feels detached from r e a l i t y and therefore experiences a sence of poverty of the ego. The unconscious sadism originally directed against the object, reinforced by a sense of gu i l t , produces the singular pheno-menon of the person's becoming sadistic toward himself. It i s this sadism or aggression of the ego, directed back against i t s e l f , that i s crucial for the suicidal response because "the ego can k i l l i t s e l f only when . . . . i t can treat i t s e l f as an object and . . . . launch against i t s e l f the animosity relating to an object—that primordial reaction on the part of the ego to a l l objects i n the outer world" (Freud, 1924, p. 163). (b) Other Psycho-analytic Theories: (i) Fenichel (1945) viewed suicide as "the outcome of strong ambi-valent dependence on a sadistic super-ego", together with "the necessity of getting r i d of unbearable guilt tension at any cost." Since the super-ego develops through the introjection or incorporation of love objects, the act of suicide symbolizes the murder of these love objects. ( i i ) In his book Man Against Himself (1938), Menninger describes suicide as the destructive tendencies (death instinct) winning out over the constructive tendencies ( l i f e i n s t i nct). Menninger feels that there are three components i n a l l suicides: (l) 'the wish to k i l l ' ; (2) 'the wish to be k i l l e d ' ; and (3) 'the wish to die'. : 16 (1) The 'wish to k i l l ' ( conscious hate, aggression, blame, e l i -mination, annihilation and revenge) i s the primary aggressive impulse "invested with neutralisation i n one or several objects whose sudden removal or faithlessness dislodges the attachment and allows the murderous impulse to expend i t s e l f upon the person of i t s origin as a substitute object" (ibid, p. 50).' (2) The 'wish to be k i l l e d ' (conscious guilt feelings, submission, masochism, self-blame, and self-accusation) arises from guilt over one's murderous impulses and, consequently, the uncon-scious need to be punished for i t . (3) The ' wish to die' (hopelessness, fear, despair and pain) results from a failure of adaptation of l i f e instincts, i . e . "a defi-ciency i n the capacity for developing love" (ibid, p. 79). ( i i i ) Zilboorg (1936) sees suicide as the individual's way of thwart-ing outside influences which are making l i f e impossible for him. He also points out the paradoxy i n the individual's attempt to achieve "fantasied immortality and fame and an unobstructed realization of hedonistic ideals" while, with the same action, he i s destroying himself. (iv) Other theorists within the psycho-analytic framework include Re&d, O'Connor and Pollack. Read (1936, p. 634) found that "there i s not infrequently an idea that death w i l l involve eternal union with a lost loved one, or some vaguer conception of a union with God, or becoming thereby i n time with the i n f i n i t e . " This relates to O'Connor's (1948) finding that suicidal patients experience feelings of omnipotence. Pollack (1938) added that i n s t a b i l i t y of mood and arrested psychosexual development were characteristics common to suicidal individuals. Jamieson (l936) and Palmer (l94l) concurred with this finding. (c) Non-Psychoanalytic Theories: (i) Davidson believes that suicide i s due to a state of 'organic depression*.. This type of depression develops when the individual has been exhausted to the l i m i t of his resources and sees further l i v i n g as purpose-less. The immediate situation thus comes to dominate consciousness, restricting the f i e l d of awareness to such an extent that there i s inatten-. tion to l i f e i t s e l f . In this state of 'organic depression', "the higher centres of the brain are unable to cope with and-direct the incoming impulse to make deci- ., sions. The individual then ceases to w i l l , surrenders to imagination and i s unable to protect himself against further harmful impulses" (Davidson, 1934, p. 25). The f i n a l stage i n the sequence i s self-destruction. ( i i ) Crichton-Miller developed a theory of suicide based on pain and suffering as motivating forces. These he divided into three groups (Crichton-Miller, 1931, pp. 240-241) (l) physical pain (including anticipated pain) and frustration of instinctual needs (of which the sexual i s the most fre-quently thwarted); (2) social sufferings and fears including remorse for wrong-doings and impulse towards expiation, and an exaggerated self-love which prohibits the acceptance of any form of social humiliation; and (3) doubts and dreads pertaining to the hereafter and manifest i n the suicides of Messianic character—in which there occurs a supreme sacrifice of the total personality for some redemptive purpose. ( i i i ) In his ar t i c l e Mind of Murder. Goitein (1942) expresses the 18 opinion that s u i c i d a l impulses occur "as a compensation f o r the homicidal impulse d i r e c t e d against members of the immediate family". An example of t h i s i s the c h i l d i s h "You'll be sorry when I'm dead" act of s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n . ( i v ) One version of the attempted s u i c i d e phenomenon was described by Teicher (1947). As he saw i t , the i n d i v i d u a l learned to respond aggres-s i v e l y i n a l l ' i n s e c u r i t y provoking* s i t u a t i o n s . These reactions are then turned inward "as an i n f a n t i l e e x h i b i t i o n i s t i c protest and set of h o s t i l i t y against a harsh r e s t r a i n i n g f i g u r e . " Teicher sees the attempt at suicide f a i l i n g because the i n d i v i d u a l i s so unsure of himself that he cannot even complete an aggressive act d i r e c t e d inwardly, against himself. (v) In William's view (l936) the two dominant causes of suicide are disappointment and f r u s t r a t i o n . "But since such f e e l i n g s are experienced by a l l , he postulates the presence i n the r i g i d p e r s o n a l i t y of a strong n a r c i s -s i s t i c component which cannot accept defeats or combat reverses and i s unable to adapt e a s i l y to r e a l i t y . The r e s u l t i s s u i c i d e " ( W a l l i s , I960, pp. 67-68). This discussion of theories, s o c i o l o g i c a l f a c t o r s and d e f i n i t i o n s makes one th i n g c l e a r : the s u i c i d a l phenomenon i s one of extreme complexity. Indeed, so true i s t h i s that the would-be researcher hardly knows where to begin. A myriad of f a c t o r s have been hypothesized as p o s s i b l y relevant to the phenomenon, f a c t o r s of environment? i n t e l l i g e n c e , race and r e l i g i o n , or p e r s o n a l i t y or s o c i a l status. As has been seen, some of these have been inv e s t i g a t e d again and again, being experimentally ' i n vogue' at one time or v. another, while others have been ignored e n t i r e l y . Figure 1 shows a predietLcn model of s u i c i d a l behavior (Devries, 1968a) which i s an attempt to categorize a l l of those contributory f a c t o r s which have at some time been advocated i n the research l i t e r a t u r e . This model serves two purposes: ( l ) i t summarizes, the three main areas of e x i s t i n g research endeavor, and (2) i t i n d i c a t e s both where the i n i t i a l research attempts have been concentrated" to date and new aspects which might be considered. The two aspects of s u i c i d a l behavior t h i s writer chose to i n v e s t i -gate are l i s t e d i n the model. They are (l),\problem-solving ( s p e c i f i c a l l y , the e f f e c t of r i g i d i t y i n problem-solving) and (2) perception. 20 biochemical and neu r o l o g i c a l -/ drugs - / - ^ i l l n e s s (physical) -/-Jjy£& comparative / - cf psychology* - / - ^V£>" c o n s t i t u t i o n * - / - cv? physiology* - '-- amnesia fo l l o w i n g s u i c i d e attempt - anger and aggression - anxiety - depression - emotion - f e a r - f r u s t r a t i o n - g u i l t - hypochondria - h y s t e r i a - maturity - motivation - neurosis - perception - p e r s o n a l i t y - problem s o l v i n g and thinking - psychosis - stress (psychological) - a t t i t u d e s * - dependency* - i n t e l l i g e n c e and other a b i l i t i e s * - l e a r n i n g * SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS AND OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS I I I I I I ! I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I ca H *tf (D <D ts* M H P-£ H- H i» W O H" W- CO O O C P U * p" CD % o hi * & ro SB O. hi £ F- O rt- (B P rt-M H -O CO S3 rt- * CO s; s; <j co w O <D CO rt- O 4 SB rt- hi O tr rt- ro co H* hi ra f» • o l» a H 2 to ca o o S» ca i—1 o v -> H & ro hi co *Although no studies were found i n these categories, they were included f o r completeness. FIGURE : i Main Variables and Categories of Prediction Model 21 R i g i d i t y I f two or more people are to communicate on any given topic i t i s necessary that they share a common language. Thus, i f two i n d i v i d u a l s are to discuss cats, the word 'cat* must evoke a s i m i l a r image f o r both. S i m i l a r l y , i f the phenomenon of r i g i d i t y i s to be discussed meaningfully an operational d e f i n i t i o n of the term ' r i g i d i t y ' i s necessary. Unhappily f o r the would-be researcher, a perusal of the l i t e r a t u r e on t h i s topic i n d i -cates that there e x i s t s l i t t l e agreement among psychologists how r i g i d i t y should be defined. As Luchins (1959, p. 475) points out, i t ( ' r i g i d i t y ' ) has been used to r e f e r to a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of behavior; to a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of a person or personality; to a f a c t o r i n the person, e i t h e r a s p e c i f i c or a general f a c t o r . I t has been used i n ah;,all-or-none sense, as an a t t r i b u t e of behavior which a person e i t h e r possesses or l a c k s , as w e l l as i n a quantitative sense, as i f i t were measurable along a gradient. With so much confusion e x i s t i n g about the d e f i n i t i o n of r i g i d i t y , i t should not be s u r p r i s i n g that research e f f o r t s i n the f i e l d have tended to be spasmodic, uncoordinated and inconclusive. A survey of the more important theories w i l l conclude with a look at the work of Abraham S. (, Luchins who presently seems to be recognized as the foremost authority on behavioral r i g i d i t y . Theories of R i g i d i t y 1. Psychoanalytic Preud was much concerned with the kind of maladaptive, r e p e t i t i v e behavior that we have come to l a b e l as ' r i g i d behavior'. In f a c t , "Sigmund Freud's observations of the frequency with which r i g i d , r e p e t i t i v e behavior occurs l e d him to a l t e r r a d i c a l l y h i s formulation of psychoanalytic theory" (Luchins, 1959, p. 47l). The s p e c i f i c a l t e r a t i o n i n the theory which Luchins i s here a l l u d i n g to is. Freud's i n t r o d u c t i o n of the death i n s t i n c t which has been discussed i n chapter 1. R i g i d i t y then was f o r Freud the manifestation of an unconscious wish i n "normal adults and c h i l d r e n to r e l i v e and recount previous experiences and to indulge i n r e p e t i t i v e beha-v i o r " (Luchins, 1959» p. 6). Freud's observations on the occurrence and frequency of r i g i d , maladaptive behavior were not questioned by other psychoanalysts. His explanations were questioned instead. S p e c i f i c a l l y , questions were r a i s e d about "whether r i g i d , r e p e t i t i v e behavior i s ( l ) due to a r e p e t i t i v e com-pul s i o n , (2) r e l a t e d to destructiveness, and (3) a t t r i b u t a b l e to a death i n s t i n c t " (Luchins, 1959, p. 472). Some of these divergent opinions as to the mechanisms of r i g i d i t y were o f f e r e d by the follo w i n g : (a) Franz Alexander Franz Alexander r e l a t e d r i g i d i t y to an economy ( i n e r t i a ) p r i n c i p l e . " I n d ividual development proceeds on the p r i n c i p l e of economy by which energy i s as f a r as possible conserved and the n e c e s s i t i e s of l i f e secured with the minimum expenditure of energy" (Alexander, 1951, p. 175). Alexander saw t h i s p r i n c i p l e as being basic to ( l ) the trend towards habit formation, (2) resistance to change, and (3) regressive tendencies, a l l three being elements of r i g i d i t y i n behavior. (b) A l f r e d Adler, A l f r e d Adler saw a r i g i d l i f e s t y l e as being d i s t i n c t i v e of the 'nervous character*. Such a character i s d i f f e r e n t from the h e a l t h i e r i n d i v i d u a l i n the following ways: 23 the character of the r e l a t i v e l y healthy i s as r i c h i n v a r i a t i o n as l i f e i t s e l f , e l a s t i c , adjustable, f r i e n d l y to s o c i e t y . The nervous character, on the contrary, i s always narrow, l i m i t e d , r i g i d , self-conscious and anxious, schematic . . . . i n e l a s t i c , unbending, enmeshed by h i s f i c t i o n s which b l i n d him to r e a l i t y . (Murphy & Jensen, 1932, pp. 218-219) (c) Karen Horney To Karen Horney, a l l tendencies to neurotism are characterized by at l e a s t two f a c t o r s : "a discrepancy between p o t e n t i a l i t i e s and accom-plishments" and a c e r t a i n " r i g i d i t y i n r e a c t i o n " , by which she means "a la c k of that f l e x i b i l i t y which enables i n d i v i d u a l s to react d i f f e r e n t l y to d i f f e r e n t s i t u a t i o n s " (Horney, 1937, p. 22). Thus r i g i d i t y i s a neurotic trend, a defensive-mode of r e a c t i n g to the world which the i n d i v i d u a l has adopted i n order to avoid 'basic anxiety'. Basic anxiety, which o r i g i n a t e s i n childhood, i s "a f e e l i n g of weakness and helplessness i n a world perceived as p o t e n t i a l l y h o s t i l e and dangerous" (Luchins, 1959, p. 24). To escape t h i s p o t e n t i a l danger, the c h i l d searches f o r successful ways of coping with l i f e and those ways which he s e l e c t s tend to become r i g i d i f i e d because "only by r i g i d l y adopting the modes of defense can he assert himself; . . . other methods of adjustment seem to him to be r e p l e t e with anxiety" ( i b i d , p. 24). (d) E r i c h Fromm Like Horney, E r i c h Fromm considers r i g i d i t y to be an escape mechanism. However, to Fromm, r i g i d i t y i s the i n d i v i d u a l ' s r e a c t i o n to h i s l o s s of 'autonomous strength'. Autonomy i s l o s t when the i n d i v i d u a l i s over-whelmed by a sense of h i s own i n s i g n i f i c a n c e i n comparison with the vastness and power of the world beyond. To combat t h i s f e e l i n g of i n s i g n i f i c a n c e , the i n d i v i d u a l seeks to become the kind of p e r s o n a l i t y h i s culture expects him to be. Thus he i s c o n t i n u a l l y defined as a person by others' expectations. 24 In order to overcome 'the panic r e s u l t i n g from l o s s of i d e n t i t y he i s compelled to conform, to seek h i s i d e n t i t y by continuous approval and r e c o g n i t i o n by others. Since he does not know who he i s , at l e a s t the others w i l l k n o w — i f he acts according to t h e i r expecta-ti o n s ; i f they know he w i l l know too, i f he only takes t h e i r word f o r i t . (Fromm, 1941, p. 254) 2. Other Psychological Theories Psychoanalysts do not have a monopoly on t h e o r i z i n g . Three o^her theories of r i g i d i t y , those of Goldstein, Werner and Lewin explain r i g i d i t y i n non-psychoanalytic terms. (a) Goldstein Goldstein's (1943) theory of r i g i d i t y grew out of h i s studies of organic b r a i n damage. He f i r s t noted that i n d i v i d u a l s s u f f e r i n g from some forms of brain pathology seemed unable to negotiate the t r a n s i t i o n from one kind of action to another, as required by the circumstances at hand. This i n a b i l i t y to s h i f t from one t r a i n of thought or act i o n to another Goldstein l a b e l l e d as 'primary r i g i d i t y ' . He considered i t s o r i g i n to be some abnormal neurolo-g i c a l condition (eg. a s u b c o r t i c a l l e s i o n ) which had the e f f e c t of i s o l a t i n g one part of the c e n t r a l nervous system from the r e s t , with r i g i d i t y a conse-quence of t h i s i s o l a t i o n . Goldstein thought of primary r i g i d i t y as being independent of the •higher' mental processes. But t h i s was not so with 'secondary r i g i d i t y - ' . Secondary r i g i d i t y , which Goldstein a t t r i b u t e d to 'acquired' c o r t i c a l damage, i s characterized by an impairment of the capacity f o r a b s t r a c t i o n . Thus the patient would no longer understand what i s required of him when he i s asked to deal with abstract concepts. P r e f e r r i n g an i n c o r r e c t response to no response at a l l , the i n d i v i d u a l i s compelled to behave .'concretely*. 25 Goldstein found such secondary r i g i d i t y to be e s p e c i a l l y character-i s t i c of both schizophrenics and the feeble-minded. (b) Werner Heinz Werner's views on r i g i d i t y r e f l e c t h i s background i n compara-tive-developmental psychology. For Werner, r i g i d i t y i s a f u n c t i o n a l concept, defined as a "lack of v a r i a b i l i t y i n response or a l a c k of a d a p t a b i l i t y i n behavior" (Luchins, 1959, p. 473). As such, r i g i d i t y i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the l e s s w e l l -developed i n d i v i d u a l , be he a c h i l d (ontogenetic development) or a p r i m i t i v e man (phylogenetic development). This reasoning follows from the premise that the more advanced the i n d i v i d u a l ' s development, the more d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n there w i l l be between h i s ego and h i s environment. As Werner (1940, p. 55) puts i t In general, the more d i f f e r e n t i a t e d and h i e r a r c h i c a l l y organized the mental structureo of an organism, the more f l e x i b l e (or p l a s t i c ) i t s behavior . . . . i f an a c t i v i t y i s hig h l y h i e r a r -chized, the organism, within a considerable* range, can vary the a c t i v i t y to comply with the demands of the varying s i t u a t i o n . Werner also contends that " r i g i d i t y i s p a r t i c u l a r l y c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of subnormal and abnormal i n d i v i d u a l s and i s associated with b r a i n i n j u r y and with underdevelopment and disease of the b r a i n " (Luchins, 1959, p. 473). (c) Lewin One of the more complex theories of r i g i d i t y has been advanced by Kurt Lewin. .In t h i s theory, r i g i d i t y i s not used as a d e s c r i p t i o n of behavior but rather as an explanation of i t . I n i t i a l l y , Lewin's 'top o l o g i c a l psychology' envisioned the i n d i v i d u a l as structured i n t o numerous 'psychical' regions or systems. ' R i g i d i t y ' i s 26 used to describe a 'dynamic material' or property of these systems. The person, dynamically, i s a t o t a l i t y of systems.. F i r s t , one can d i s t i n g u i s h the structure of the t o t a l i t y , that i s , the degree of d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of the systems and the kind of d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of systems i n t h i s t o t a l i t y . . . . Second, with,, the same structure the dynamic material of the systems may be d i f f e r e n t . The systems can be more or l e s s r i g i d , more or l e s s f l u i d , and so f o r t h . . . . The e l a s t i c i t y or the r i g i d i t y of the systems seems to be a very basic and important c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the whole person. ( l935» p. 187) • R i g i d i t y ' i s also used i n reference to boundaries between the systems. "Boundaries are the more r i g i d the greater the forces necessary to overcome them" (Levin, 1936, g l o s s a r y ) . Whether t h i s presence of r i g i d i t y i n the boundaries between mental functions i n f e r s a l a c k of communication between these functions i s not made c l e a r . Topological r i g i d i t y and behavioral r i g i d i t y are not synonymous i n Lewin's scheme, although some correspondence between the two i s assumed. However, the nature of t h i s correspondence i s more than a l i t t l e confusing, as can be gathered from Luchins summary of i t (Luchins, 1959, p. 474). t o p o l o g i c a l r i g i d i t y i s considered to under l i e various kinds of behavior, some of which may be c l a s s i f i e d as b e h a v i o r a l f r i g i d i t y , some of which have no apparent r e l a t i o n to behavioral r i g i d i t y , and some of which appear ,to be the a n t i t h e s i s of behavioral r i g i -d i t y . Semantics contribute to the confusion of Lewin's readers. Terms such as ' s t r u c t u r a l r i g i d i t y ' , 'functional r i g i d i t y ' , 'psychic r i g i d i t y ' and 'dynamic r i g i d i t y ' are used more or l e s s interchangeably. Whether they are a l l equivalent to 'top o l o g i c a l r i g i d i t y * i s not c l a r i f i e d . Because of these two sources of d i f f i c u l t y most experimenters have steered c l e a r of Lewin's approach to the study of r i g i d i t y . - Many have turned instead to the factor-analysts. 27 3. F a c t o r - a n a l y t i c Studies Proponents of the f a c t o r - a n a l y t i c approach to psychological i n q u i r y have always maintained that i t s use tends to c l a r i f y the experimental s i t u a t i o n . Factor-analysis i s seen as an o b j e c t i v e , parsimonious means of i d e n t i f y i n g and d e f i n i n g the basic dimensions of the subject i n question. It i s therefore rather i r o n i c that "one of the outcomes of the f a c t o r i a l approach to r i g i d i t y has been to propose a greater m u l t i p l i c i t y or r i g i d i t y f a c t o r s (over, t h i r t y ) than has been proposed by any n o n f a c t o r i a l approach" (Luchins, 1959, p. 476). Even more d i s t u r b i n g than t h i s m u l t i p l i c i t y of f a c t o r s i s the f a c t that the r e l a t i o n s h i p between them i s not at a l l c l e a r . "One does not know whether f a c t o r s with s i m i l a r names are a c t u a l l y s i m i l a r or whether d i f f e r e n t names are semantic facades h i d i n g e s s e n t i a l s i m i l a r i t i e s " ( i b i d , p. 476). Although, i n consequence, the s i t u a t i o n i s not s i m p l i f i e d by these d i f f i c u l t i e s , there are a number of f a c t o r - a n a l y t i c studies that appear to be of s p e c i a l i n t e r e s t . Included among these are studies by Spearman, C a t t e l l , and F i s h e r . (a) Spearman Cre d i t f o r the f i r s t s i g n i f i c a n t work on r i g i d i t y must go to Charles Spearman who, i n 1927, formulated the law of mental-inertia: "Cognitive processes always both begin and cease more gradually than t h e i r apparent causes." The development of t h i s law grew out of Spearman's attempts to account f o r c o r r e l a t i o n s between the r e s u l t s of c e r t a i n m o t o r - s k i l l s t e s t s . Factor g, i n t e l l i g e n c e , provided a p a r t i a l answer, but there was a second f a c t o r involved. This f a c t o r Spearman came to l a b e l 'p' f o r perseveration. 28 He f e l t that, to varying degrees, every individual possessed this factor of perseveration or mental-inertia. In any one individual, the p factor operates as a functional unity, pervading a l l behavioral processes. . . . The g factor represents the amount of mental energy and the p factor the degree of inerti a of this energy. The g and p factors are regarded as varying independently of each other. (Luchins, 1959, p. 75) (b) Cattell It was Raymond Cattell (1949) who observed that two distinctly different types of behavior were being labelled as indicative of^'persevera-tion'. Cattell f e l t i t necessary to distinguish between the two. He there-fore labelled as 'process r i g i d i t y ' or 'mental-inertia' the tendency for "a former response to continue although a new stimulus has been substituted for the old one" (Chown, 1959, p. 196). This tendency i s seen most clearly i n alternation tasks. The second, and more important type of r i g i d i t y Cattell labelled as 'structural'. This i s "the resistance of a habit or personality t r a i t to forces which might be expected to change i t . The habit remains unchanged despite the fact that a more 'rewarding' response to the new stimulus could be made" (ibid, p. 196). Cattell l i s t e d three possible sources of structural r i g i d i t y : (l) "low fluency of random associations" which, when coupled with low i n t e l l i -gence ('low g'), might result i n the individual's not being aware that a new response i s needed, or i f he i s , not realizing just what the new response should be; (2) "Defective strength of motivation or conflicting motives might also cause structural r i g i d i t y " (ibid, p. 196); or (3) 'dispositional r i g i d i t y * , by which Cattell means "a resistance to change of neural dis-charge paths" which i s seen as being a "basic attribute of a l l dispositions". 29 (c) F i s h e r An i n t e r e s t i n g f a c t o r - a n a l y t i c study was done by Seymour Fish e r (1950). F i s h e r set up a battery of problem s i t u a t i o n s characterized by "variable numbers of roughly equivalent modes of response." He d i d t h i s i n order to determine "whether i n d i v i d u a l s show any measurable di f f e r e n c e i n the degree to which they u t i l i z e few or many a l t e r n a t i v e s from s i t u a t i o n to s i t u a t i o n . " Under these circumstances Fi s h e r found evidence f o r two types of r i g i d i t y . 'Ego r i g i d i t y ' was shown by the i n d i v i d u a l i n dealing with threatening (ego involving) tasks. 'Peripheral r i g i d i t y ' operated i n tasks that were non-threatening and thus l e s s v i t a l to the ego. F i s h e r continued: i f one postulates that the character of per i p h e r a l (outer) r i g i d i t y represents how much need the i n d i v i d u a l h a s 1 t o guard himself even i n non-threatening s i t u a t i o n s and f u r t h e r assumes that ego (inner) r i g i d i t y represents the degree of defensive guarding an i n d i v i d u a l mobilizes when faced with emotional demands of threats, i t may then be hypothesized that the pattern of r e l a t i o n s h i p s between these two l e v e l s gives us at l e a s t a vague pi c t u r e of the manner i n which a given i n d i v i d u a l ' s p e r s o n a l i t y defenses are organized. (Fisher, 1950, p. 36) Luchins' Theory: The E i n s t e l l u n g E f f e c t Among the many theories of r i g i d i t y that of Abraham S. Luchins i s of p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t . Luchins d i d not subscribe to a p a r t i c u l a r theory of r i g i d i t y . He chose instead a 'phenomenon-centred' approach to the problem. That i s , -he selected a s p e c i f i c example of r i g i d behavior and subjected i t to inte n s i v e experimental i n v e s t i g a t i o n , hoping, i n t h i s way, to come to an understanding of the f a c t o r s involved. The example of r i g i d i t y which he chose was the ' E i n s t e l l u n g e f f e c t ' . The pioneering studies of t h i s e f f e c t were done by Zener i n 1927 at the B e r l i n I n s t i t u t e of Psychology. 30 (He) habituated h i s subjects to solve c e r t a i n types of problems i n the same way. A t e s t problem was then given. He found that an obvious and simple s o l u t i o n of the t e s t problem was u s u a l l y overlooked because the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c method of s o l u t i o n , set up i n the preceeding problems, was used i n the t e s t problem. Control groups tended to solve the problem i n the obvious and simple manner. (Maier, 1936, p. 127) Luchins was i n t r i g u e d by the f a c t that "the successive, r e p e t i t i v e use of the same method mechanized many of the subjects." He determined to experiment f u r t h e r with t h i s phenomenon. To do so he developed a unique s e r i e s of eleven arithmetic 'Water Jar' problems. These problems are shown i n tabular form below. Obtain the required amount of water 20 100 99 5 -21 31 20 18 25 22 6 Luchins administered these water j a r problems to a graduate seminar of 15 people. Standardized d i r e c t i o n s were given as follows: Now you are to solve a number of problems i n which a c e r t a i n amount of water i s to be obtained by manipulating d i f f e r e n t j a r s of a c e r t a i n s i z e . , _ Given the fo l l o w i n g empty rroblem . _ j a r s as measures 1. 29 3 2. E l 21 127 3 3. E2 14 163 25 4. E3 18 43 10 5. E4 9 42 6 6. E5 20 59 4 7. CI 23 49 3 8. C2 15 39 3 9. 28 76 3 10. C3 18 48 4 11. C4 14 . 36 8 31 Imagine your s e l f near a source of water such as a kitchen sink. You are given one empty j a r which can hold 29 quarts and another which can hold 3 quarts. You are asked to get 20 quarts of water.' Bear i n mind that there are no graduated markings on the containers. A l l you know about them i s that when f i l l e d to the top one holds 20 quarts and the other 3 quarts of water. Start by f i l l i n g the 29 quart j a r ; then use the empty 3 quart j a r three times to remove the excess 9 quarts. Each time empty the contents of the smaller j a r i n t o the sink. Now t r y t h i s problem: Given an empty j a r which holds 21 quarts, another of 127 quarts, and a t h i r d of 3 quarts, you are asked to get 100 quarts of water. One way of s o l v i n g the problem i s as foll o w s : F i r s t , f i l l the 127 quart j a r . This w i l l give you 27 quarts too many. From t h i s j a r , next f i l l the 21 quart j a r once. Now there w i l l be only 6 quarts too many i n the 127 quart j a r . To remove t h i s excess, f i l l the 3 quart j a r twice. The l a r g e s t container now contains the desired 100 quarts. The s o l u t i o n can be shown as follows: 127 - 21 - 3 - 3 = 100 or 127 - 3 - 3 - 21 = 100 or 127 - 3 - 21 - 3 = 100 Now t r y the eleven problems l i s t e d below. To obtain the desired quantity i n each instance, use any or a l l of the j a r s mentioned i n the problem. You w i l l see that the f i r s t two problems are those j u s t shown. You may write: down,your s o l u t i o n i n words or i n mathematical symbols, or draw arrows to show the f i l l i n g and pouring of water. I f you cannot solve a problem within two and one-half minutes, go on to the next one. Let us designate the three j a r s used i n each problem as A, B and C r e s p e c t i v e l y . We can then describe the method i l l u s t r a t e d i n the above d i r e c t i o n s as B - A - 2C (l27 - 21 - 3 - 3). As t h i s i s the only method which w i l l y i e l d the required amounts f o r problems 1 through 6 i t i s c a l l e d the 'set-inducing' or 'E' ( f o r E i n s t e l l u n g ) method. This B - A - 2C method may also be used f o r problems 7 and 8, 10 and 11. However, i n the case of these four problems, simpler solutions e x i s t . Problems 7 and 11 can be q u i c k l y solved by subtracting.,amount C from amount A (the A - C method), while 8 and 10 can be solved by simply adding the two amounts (A + C). Discussion of problem 9 has thus f a r been omitted because i t i s completely unique. In t h i s case the d i r e c t A - C method w i l l produce the desired r e s u l t s ( i . e . 25 quarts of water), but the E method w i l l not (B - A - 2C = 42). Problem 9 i s therefore the only problem i n the s e r i e s wherein an i n s i s t e n c e on method E w i l l r e s u l t i n f r u s t r a t i o n . The r a t i o n a l e behind the s e r i e s i s as follows.' I f the presentation of problems 1 through 6 creates habituation to the repeatedly used E method, then t h i s ' E i n s t e l l u n g e f f e c t * w i l l become operative i n the c r i t i c a l (c) problems 7 and 8. In other words, the i n d i v i d u a l who has successfully used the E procedure f o r the f i r s t s i x problems w i l l continue to employ t h i s • c i r c u i t o u s method' i n problems 7 and 8. The more d i r e c t (D) method w i l l be ignored. Then the subject i s confronted with the d i f f i c u l t y of problem 9.' This confrontation should cause one of two things to happen. He w i l l e i t h e r ( l ) question the v a l i d i t y of the E method and look f o r an a l t e r n a t i v e s o l u -t i o n , or (2) he w i l l adhere r i g i d l y to the E method and, as a consequence, f a i l to solve the problem. Whichever course of a c t i o n the subject chooses w i l l be r e f l e c t e d i n h i s handling of c r i t i c a l problems 10 and 11. I f , as a r e s u l t of problem 9, the subject i s now aware of the existence of a l t e r n a t i v e s o l u t i o n s , he w i l l probably use the more d i r e c t A + or - C method. I f , on the other hand, he has not p r o f i t e d from h i s experience with problem 9, problems 10 and 11 w i l l be solved by the longer E i n s t e l l u n g method. This was (and s t i l l i s ) the set-up of the basic experiment. However,, Luchins added one innovation i n h i s o r i g i n a l study with the f i f t e e n seminar students. In a p r i v a t e session beforehand, he t o l d four of them to write the words "Don't be b l i n d " on t h e i r papers j u s t a f t e r f i n i s h i n g problem #6. These students were l a b e l l e d as the 'DBB' group; the other eleven made up the 'plain* group. This procedure gave the following r e s u l t s (Luchins, 1942, p. 4): 33 TABLE I The E i n s t e l l u n g Group: P l a i n (11=11) DBB 37 25 63 75 (N=4) 1) The pure E - E f f e c t was 100 per cent E- and 0 percent D-solutions.' That i s , every one of the 11. subjects of the P l a i n group solved C1C2 (#7 and 8) i n the E-manner (B - A - 2C); none of these C1C2 problems were solved by the more d i r e c t method. 2) The E - E f f e c t i n the DBB group was 37 percent E- and 63 percent D-s o l u t i o n s . E f f e c t f o r ' P l a i n 1 and 'Don't be b l i n d ' groups: $> E solutions fo d i r e c t solutions (CI, G2) (C3, C4) (ei, C2) (C3, C4) 100 85 0 15 3) The E f f e c t of Problem Nine on the f o l l o w i n g C3C4 (lO and l l ) was 15 percent i n the P l a i n group. In other words, the P l a i n group had 15 percent l e s s E- and 15 percent more D- solutions i n C3C4 than i n C1C2. 4) In the DBB .group the E f f e c t of Problem Nine on the, f o l l o w i n g C3C4 was 12 percent. 5) I n s t r u c t i o n E f f e c t i n C1C2 was 63 percent. That i s , the DBB group had 63 percent l e s s E- (more D- s o l u t i o n s ) , i n C1C2 than the P l a i n group. 6) In C3C4 the Ins t r u c t i o n E f f e c t was 60 percent. 7) The pure E - E f f e c t (C1C2 of P l a i n group) was 100 percent E- and 0 per-cent D- s o l u t i o n s , whereas when both the "Don't be b l i n d " warning and Problem Nine had been introduced (C3C4 of DBB group), there were only 25 percent E-^  solutions and 75 percent D- s o l u t i o n s . In short, i n t h i s l i t t l e experiment the E - E f f e c t was very l a r g e . The increase i n D- solutions a f t e r Problem Nine was presented was 15 percent f o r the P l a i n group and 12 percent f o r the DBB group. : The I n s t r u c t i o n E f f e c t was 63 percent i n C1C2, 60 percent i n C3C4. Thus, the preliminary experiment showed a large E - E f f e c t and considerable decreases of E- solutions and increases i n D- s o l u t i o n s , a f t e r both the "Don't be b l i n d " i n s t r u c t i o n s and Problem Nine were presented. I t w i l l be noted that Luchins r e f e r r e d to t h i s f i r s t experiment as a 'preliminary' one. In the years since then he has repeated the experiment l i t e r a l l y dozens of times. Repeated but not duplicated i t , f o r each time he has e i t h e r used a d i f f e r e n t subject population (eg. elementary school c h i l d -ren, college students, etc.) or va r i e d some procedural dimension of the o r i g i n a l study.' In t h i s way vast amounts of material about the E i n s t e l l u n g e f f e c t have been accumulated. Luchins was e s p e c i a l l y i n t e r e s t e d i n those f a c t o r s which tended to increase or decrease the E i n s t e l l u n g e f f e c t . In t h i s regard he has made some very i n t e r e s t i n g d i s c o v e r i e s . He found, f o r instance, that the e f f e c t increased under the following conditions: ( i ) When attempts were made to create a s t r e s s f u l 'speed t e s t ' atmosphere. "Pour of the seven elementary-school groups i n the speed-test study showed maximum E e f f e c t s , whereas only two of the ten college groups did so" (Luchins, 1959, p. 517). ( i i ) When the number of set-inducing problems ( i . e . those which can only be solved by the B - A 2C method) was increased from f i v e to ten, two of three elementary-school groups showed maximum E e f f e c t s , ( i i i ) When, p r i o r to the experiment, the subjects were asked to t r y to "discover a method of s o l u t i o n or a r u l e to solve the problems" those who were able to do so showed maximum E e f f e c t s . Those sub-j e c t s who were not able to generalize such a ru l e showed s i g n i f i -c a n t l y lower E e f f e c t s . Luchins found that the E i n s t e l l u n g e f f e c t was minimized under the fol l o w i n g conditions: ( i ) When, as i n the preliminary experiment, the subjects were t o l d to write the words "Don't be b l i n d " on t h e i r papers f o l l o w i n g the completion of problem s i x , college groups showed minimal E e f f e c t s . E e f f e c t s were not s i m i l a r l y eliminated f o r elementary-school groups, however. ( i i ) When, a f t e r the s e r i e s of problems had been given once, the experi-menter explained the E i n s t e l l u n g phenomenon and then re-administered the problems, subjects showed minimal E e f f e c t s . Nevertheless, Luchins was generally unsuccessful i n e l i m i n a t i n g E e f f e c t s , although he made many attempts to do so. That E e f f e c t s were only s l i g h t l y reduced by the following means seems somewhat s u r p r i s i n g , ( i ) "Attempts to decrease emotional tension and haste through nonspeed (no-timing) conditions d i d not minimize E e f f e c t s i n even one group" (Luchins, 1959, p. 520) ( i i ) No lessening i n E e f f e c t s was found even when the number of set-inducing problems was reduced from f i v e to one. ( i i i ) When the s e r i e s was divided i n t o two parts (problems 1 through 6; 7 through l l ) and each part was administered as a separate experiment, E e f f e c t s continued to be demonstrated, ( i v ) When the s e r i e s was divided i n t o two parts as i n ( c) and the parts were administered separately, with as long as a month intervening, only a s l i g h t decline i n E e f f e c t s was found. The degree of r i g i d i t y demonstrated by h i s subjects puzzled Luchins. How were these durable E e f f e c t s to be accounted f o r ? None of the e x i s t i n g theories of r i g i d i t y seemed able to provide a s a t i s f a c t o r y , workable explanation. Nor, i n h i s opinion, could the l e a r n i n g t h e o r i s t s cope ade-quately with t h i s E i n s t e l l u n g e f f e c t . As so often happens, the s o l u t i o n to the dilemma came from a very non-obvious source. In t h i s case, Gestalt psychology. Gestalt psychologists emphasize the f a c t that, i n t r y i n g to under-stand responses, one must take i n t o account the " c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s t r u c t u r a l features of the whole s i t u a t i o n . " The s t r u c t u r a l features of the Water Jar 36 se r i e s are eleven problems which appear to be hi g h l y s i m i l a r . I t i s t h i s apparent s i m i l a r i t y that causes the subject to view each problem as an equal member of a u n i t a r y group. He responds accordingly, u n c r i t i c a l l y applying the method that has worked i n other parts of the un i t a r y s e r i e s ( i . e . the 'E' method) to the f i n a l t e s t problems. As Luchins sees i t , what i s at stake here i s the subject's capacity f o r 'genuine problem s o l v i n g ' . "For genuine problem s o l v i n g to take place throughout a s e r i e s of tasks, each task of the s e r i e s must be faced as a new problem-solving s i t u a t i o n , as another occasion f o r decision-making" (Luchins, 1959, p. 524). The g e s t a l t p r i n c i p l e of the u n i t a r y whole operates against such genuine problem s o l v i n g f o r i t creates a condition which i s conducive to "perseverative, r e p e t i t i v e behavior." Luchins found the operation of t h i s p r i n c i p l e i l l u s t r a t e d i n the previously mentioned f a i l u r e of h i s attempts to eliminate E e f f e c t s . Thus, allowing unlimited time per problem d i d not reduce the subject's impression of a u n i t a r y s e r i e s . Nor d i d a mere reduction i n the number of E tasks presented. D i v i d i n g the s e r i e s i n t o two parts and administering each as a separate experiment' d i d not reduce E e f f e c t s because "the majority (of sub-j e c t s ) . . . . nevertheless reported that they viewed the problems as being of one type" ( i b i d , p. 512) . A time i n t e r v a l between halves had l i t t l e e f f e c t because of "the a t t i t u d e that the problems given a f t e r a time i n t e r v a l c o n stituted a continuation of the i n i t i a l experiment" ( i b i d , p. 504) . S i m i l a r l y , genuine problem s o l v i n g was adversely influenced by those procedural v a r i a t i o n s intended to maximize E e f f e c t s . Under speed conditions, the tense s o c i a l atmosphere was not conducive to c a r e f u l examination of each problem and to decision making with reference to a mode of s o l u t i o n . The,use of ten E tasks hindered genuine problem so l v i n g by enhancing the l i k e l i h o o d of u n c r i t i c a l 37 application of a method, perhaps through fostering the impression of a homogeneous series; so many times did the E method work that the subject was taken out of a decision-making area and the problems be-came simply occasions i n which to repeat a response When the subjects were told just before the experiment to try to generalize or discover a method or rule of solution, the main or sole problem for them seemed to be the discovery of the E method or rule; those who succeeded i n discovering i t had, as far as they were concerned, solved the primary problem and were no longer i n a decision-making area; now they had merely to apply the method they had discovered. (Ibid, p. 524) It i s significant that when the need to regard each problem as a new opportunity for decision making was c l a r i f i e d to the subject, E effects were more or less eliminated. Thus the warning, "Don't be blind", helped the subjects to avoid the dangers of unthinking repetition, as did the description of the Einstellung effect just prior to a re-administration of the test. Capitalizing on these findings, Luchins successfully designed a number of further experimental variations which had the desired result of greatly reducing E effects. In these variations: (l) superfluous jars were added to the statement of each problem; (2) E tasks were not presented i n succession, but were alternated with extinction-type tasks; (3) prior to administration of the basic experiment, subjects were given the opportunity to create water-jar problems i n which they were free to decide the volumes to be found and/or the methods to be used; and (4) i n the E tasks only, the end jars were written i n red ink and the center jars i n blue ink. A l l of these variations focus the subject's attention on the unique character of each problem, thereby promoting 'genuine problem solving' behavior. Tests of Rigidity In an extensive survey by Sheila M. Chown ("Rigidity—A Flexible Concept", 1959) forty-seven different tests of r i g i d i t y are described. These can be roughly divided into four groups: (l) Einstellung tests; (2) concept 38 formation tests; (3) personality tests; and (4) a miscellaneous group. 1. Einstellung tests Einstellung tests involve "building up a •set* i n the subject and then giving him a problem which i s best solved i n some way other than the one he i s expecting" (Chown, 1959, p. 197). The best known of these—and the most frequently used of a l l r i g i d i t y t e s t s — i s Luchins' Water Jar Problems test. This test was described i n some detail i n the foregoing section. Two other Einstellung tests which have proved to be popular are the Alphabet Maze Test, developed by Cowen, Wiener and Hess (1953), and the Anagrams Test of Rees and Israel (1935). 2. Concept formation tests This type of test i s used i n the assessment of 'intellectual* r i g i d i t y . Examples are the Wisconsin Card Test, the Weigl Card-sorting Test, and Buss's Wooden Blocks Test (formerly called the Vigotsky test). A l l three tests follow approximately the same procedure. That i s , for the investigator to decide a r b i t r a r i l y which variable i s to be the basis for grouping and then to ask the Ss to discover i t . Once the S has responded correctly a certain number of times, the c r i t i c a l variable i s changed without informing him. In this way, he i s forced to form a hew concept or else to continue to f a i l by sticking to the one which was previously successful, (ibid, p. 199) 3. Personality tests Paper-and-pencil inventory tests of r i g i d i t y are understandably rare. Wesley (1953) developed one, choosing f i f t y items which five psycho-logists had rated as showing a high degree of r i g i d i t y , (eg. "I never miss going to church."). Zelen and Levitt (1954) introduced a shortened version of the same test, choosing fifteen of the f i f t y original items as being representative of the whole test. Neither form of Wesley's test has received very much attention from researchers, possibly because i t i s open to a l l the criticisms usually levelled at paper-and-pencil inventories (eg. test responses not being representative of actual behavior). 4. Other r i g i d i t y tests By and large psychologists appear,, to be an inventive group, good at improvising. Whether from choice or circumstance, researchers i n the f i e l d of r i g i d i t y have been known to use many and diverse means to gauge the phenomenon. Included i n these "many and diverse means" are the following. (a) Aniseikonic Lenses: Aniseikonic lenses "make a table appear to tip up l i k e a drawing board or make a wall lean towards the observer." The degree of visual distortion experienced varies from individual to individual. Becker (1954) reasoned that r i g i d individuals, "who manipulated the world to conform to their own preconceptions", would experience s i g n i f i -cantly less of this distortion than normals. Whether, i n fact, this i s true has yet to be convincingly demonstrated. (b) Rorschach Test: The Rorschach test has frequently been used as a measure of 'creative* r i g i d i t y . However, researchers' opinions vary as to what one should look for i n the protocols. The two measures most commonly u t i l i z e d are (l) total production and (2) the ratio of 'part pictures' to 'wholes'. (c) Hidden Objects Test: This i s a perceptual task reminiscent of Witkin's Embedded Figures. The subject i s f i r s t asked to study a picture i n which numerous objects have been 'hidden*. His task i s to find and name as many of them as possible. The rationale behind the test i s that r i g i d individuals w i l l experience greater d i f f i c u l t y i n locating the hidden objects 40 than w i l l n o n - r i g i d persons. (d) Other t e s t s thought to be i n d i c a t i v e of r i g i d i t y include ( l ) the C a l i f o r n i a Ethnocentrism Scale and (2) the C a l i f o r n i a F Scale.. The assumption underlying the use of these t e s t s i s that r i g i d i t y i s r e l a t e d e i t h e r to ethnocentrism or to authoritarianism. However, as Chown (1959, p. 20l) points out, "though r i g i d i t y may.well be r e l a t e d (to these things) there i s no evidence that they are synonymous and assumptions of the nature must be viewed with suspicion." A l l of these t e s t s claim to measure r i g i d i t y . But i s i t possible f o r so many t e s t s , d i f f e r i n g as they do i n form and content, to be focused upon the same dimension of behavior? The answer has been provided by a number of i n v e s t i g a t o r s who have made up b a t t e r i e s of t e s t s to measure • r i g i d i t y ! . One such study was c a r r i e d out by Applezweig (1954)• She used s i x •recognized' measures of r i g i d i t y , i n c l u d i n g Luchins' E i n s t e l l u n g problems, the Rorschach, a Hidden Objects Test, and the C a l i f o r n i a Ethnocentrism Scale. Among f o r t y - f i v e c o r e l a t i o n s between behaviors on s i x measures of r i g i d i t y . . . . twenty-two were negative, twenty-one were p o s i -t i v e , and two were zero; only three; of the f o r t y - f i v e c o r r e l a t i o n s were s i g n i f i c a n t and two of these were negative. (Mischel, 1968, p. 29) Pervin (i960) found s i m i l a r low c o r r e l a t i o n s between the r e s u l t s of f i v e "non-inventory performance measures of r i g i d i t y " , one being the Water Jar problems. "Out of the 20 c o r r e l a t i o n c o e f f i c i e n t s only 1 reached s i g n i f i c a n c e , about what would be expected by chance" (p. 392). Such f i n d i n g s as these suggest at l e a s t two things: 1. "For the moment, each test must be taken to stand alone. Failure on any one test could be used as an operational definition of r i g i d i t y " (Chown, 1959, p. 216). 2. "There i s no general factor of r i g i d i t y among a number of so-called measures of r i g i d i t y : The interrelationships of these measures appear to vary with the nature' of the tests employed and the conditions of test administration as well as behavioral determinants within S's" (Mischel, 1968, p. 30). These research findings, therefore, indicate that 'rigidity* i s not only a complex phenomenon but that the assumption of i t being a generalized factor of personality i s an oversimplification. Future studies may even show that Fisher was correct when he said (l959» p. 18), "I. assume, that there are general tendencies toward r i g i d i t y or looseness i n most personality structures, but that these are only tendencies and that possibly there are different levels of r i g i d i t y and perhaps even contradictory currents of r i g i d i t y i n the same person." Perception "No perception without a perceiver; no Gestalt without a Gestalter; every act of perception expresses the personality structure and dynamics of the perceiver." These, according to Luchins (1959,* p. 273), are the basic tenets of one of psychology's more vigorous schools of thought, the percep-tual-psychologists. Many important contributions have been made by this group. The work of one man stands out as being of interest and relevance to this study. This man i s H.A. Witkin, and his special contribution to psychology i s the 42 concept of f i e l d dependence or independence. This concept has i t s o r i g i n s i n an e a r l y study (Witkin & Asch, 1948) of i n d i v i d u a l d i f f e r e n c e s i n p e r c e i v i n g an upright. In t h i s experi-ment the subjects were asked to perceptually separate an object from i t s surrounding f i e l d , s p e c i f i c a l l y , a rod from i t s surrounding frame. The r e - . s u i t s were i n t e r e s t i n g i n that "some subjects perceived the rod as upright only when i t was i n alignment with the axes of the f i e l d , whereas others at the opposite extreme were quite unaffected by the p o s i t i o n of the f i e l d i n judging the d i r e c t i o n of the rod" ( Witkin, 1950, p. l ) . His c u r i o s i t y aroused by these f i n d i n g s , Witkin set about studying how i n d i v i d u a l s d i f f e r e n t i a t e between f i e l d cues and sensory cues. To do t h i s he used the ' T i l t i n g - r o o m - t i l t i n g - c h a i r ' task which determines how the i n d i v i d u a l perceives the p o s i t i o n of h i s body within d i f f e r e n t f i e l d s . Again s i g n i f i c a n t perceptual differences occurred. "Some subjects perceived t h e i r bodies as upright only when they were t i l t e d toward the axes of a t i l t e d f i e l d , whereas others were able to place themselves i n the true upright p o s i t i o n regardless of the p o s i t i o n of the f i e l d " ( i b i d , p> l ) . In summarizing the f i n d i n g s of these two studies Witkins states Both s i t u a t i o n s involved manner of p e r c e i v i n g an object i n r e l a t i o n to i t s surroundings, or a part within a l a r g e r whole; and the r e s u l t s i n d i c a t e d that, whereas f o r some people perception of the part was strongly a f f e c t e d by the surrounding f i e l d , others were able to escape t h i s influence and to deal with the part as a more or l e s s independent u n i t , ( i b i d , p. l ) Thus f a r the perception of an upright had been used e x c l u s i v e l y by Witkin. The next step was to broaden the scope of h i s studies. What he needed was a general case 'though one s t i l l i n v o l v i n g the perception of a part w i t h i n a l a r g e r whole. The Embedded Figures Test proved to j u s t such a general case, and i t became Witkin's f a v o r i t e experimental instrument. 43 The Embedded Figures Test was Loriginally developed by Gottschaldt for his work on the influence of past experience i n perception. The test involves asking the subject to locate a simple figure, which he had pre-viously been shown, within a larger complex figure, a procedure which i s repeated a total of twenty-four times. The subject's score i s the total length of time he takes to complete the task. In his f i r s t large study using this technique, Witkin gave the Embedded Figures to 51 men and 51 women. The average time for the men was 15'54". Their range of times ran from 1'59" to 59'59". For the women the average time was 23'18", and the range, 3*59" to 55'59". There were high correlations of time scores between the 12 figures presented on even t r i a l s and the 12 presented on odd t r i a l s , +.87 and +.74 respectively for men and women. Witkin interpreted these results to mean that "degree of f a c i l i t y i n perceiving a part within a larger visual structure i s a persistent charac-t e r i s t i c of each individual, and that people dif f e r markedly in this regard", (ibid, p. 9). Those individuals who scored significantly below the average for their sex group Witkin labelled as being ' f i e l d dependent'; those who scored significantly above average he called ' f i e l d independent'. In subsequent work Witkin (1962) found the following personality factors to be associated with f i e l d dependence. "Thus field-dependent individuals typically evidenced such attributes as: an in a b i l i t y to function independently of environmental supports, an absence of i n i t i a t i n g activity, low self-esteem, d i f f i c u l t y i n controlling anxiety, and a relatively primitive, undifferentiated body image." Field-independent perceivers, on the other hand, tended to be "characterized by activity and independence i n relation to the environment, relatively higher self-esteem, more effective techniques for 44 c o n t r o l l i n g anxiety, and a more d i f f e r e n t i a t e d body image." Obviously a continuum e x i s t s here, with the markedly f i e l d dependent i n d i v i d u a l at one extreme and the i n d i v i d u a l d i s p l a y i n g a high degree of f i e l d independence at the other. The r a t i o n a l behind t h i s spread i n per-ceptual a b i l i t y i s a matter of some debate. Problems i n a t t e n t i o n , of anxiety and so f o r t h have been introduced as possible explanations. Silverman (1964, p. 364-265) has suggested that developmental f a c t o r s may be involved. Studies by Witkin and h i s colleagues . . . . (and others) have demonstrated that perceptual d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of complex stimulus f i e l d s evolves i n the course of development. The experiences of one's body, s e l f , and the external environment, which e a r l y i n l i f e are e s s e n t i a l l y g l o b a l , vague and d i f f u s e , become progres-s i v e l y more a r t i c u l a t e d . Silverman's remarks seem to mean that the f i e l d independent i n d i v i d u a l i s somehow more developmentally advanced t h a n 1 i s the f i e l d dependent, a theory which f i n d s some support i n the above c i t e d p e r s o n a l i t y f a c t o r s that Witkin found to be associated with the two extremes. Gestalt psychologists have advanced another theory, s p e c i f i c a l l y that the field-independent i n d i v i d u a l i s l e s s r i g i d perceptually than i s the field-dependent person. This idea grew out of Wertheimer's e a r l y work on the laws of perceptual organization. Wertheimer included among these the f a c t o r of E i n s t e l l u n g or 'objective set'. This r e f e r s to "a set developed by the sequence of events, by what i s o b j e c t i v e l y given, as distinguished from a set which i s more 'subjective' i n nature" (Luchins, 1959, p. 276). Wertheimer considered t h i s f a c t o r to be one of great strength i n perception. To i l l u s t r a t e i t s operation he noted that 45 . when a sequence of rows of dots i s presented, the perception of any p a r t i c u l a r row may depend on the nature of the sequence; i n p a r t i c u l a r , the i n i t i a l arrangement of dots may tend to maintain i t s e l f i n subsequent rows. S i m i l a r l y , i f a sequence of f i g u r e s i s presented, the perception of any p a r t i c u l a r f i g u r e may be influenced by the sequence of which i t i s a,part, ( i b i d , p. 276). Koffka (1935) d i d an experiment on speed of closure which i l l u s t r a t e s the operation of t h i s p r i n c i p l e . The apparatus i n t h i s experi-ment consisted of two cards, on each of which a h a l f c i r c l e had been drawn. When the cards were placed together, a perfect c i r c l e r e s u l t e d . The study began with the cards separated by some distance. They were gradually moved c l o s e r together u n t i l the subject, seated three f e e t away, reported that he saw a perfect c i r c l e , (ascending s e r i e s ) . The distance between the two cards was c a r e f u l l y noted. The descending s e r i e s began with the cards placed side by sid e . They were then gradually separated u n t i l the subject reported that 1 the c i r c l e had been broken. Each s e r i e s was repeated f i v e times. The mean of the ten distances was recorded as the subject's 'threshold f o r closure'. The-significance of t h i s study l i e s i n the f a c t that i t was c a r r i e d out i n conjunction with the 'arithmetic E i n s t e l l u n g Test* or Water Jar Problems, as they are now c a l l e d . Koffka found that the group who had been l e s s r i g i d on the Water Jar Problems had a mean threshold f o r closure of 13.22 mm., while the more r i g i d group had a mean threshold of 20.82 mm. N- This d i f f e r e n c e was s i g n i f i c a n t at the .01 l e v e l , meaning that the more r i g i d group tended to see a c i r c l e when the cards were f u r t h e r apart. " I f the distance between the cards i s considered as a gauge of the speed of closure, then i t may be s a i d that the more r i g i d subjects tended to have greater speed of closure" ( i b i d , p. 276), i . e . they tended to be more f i e l d dependent. Another study which found a r e l a t i o n s h i p between r i g i d i t y and 46 field-dependence was done by O l i v e r (1950). O l i v e r was i n t e r e s t e d i n the f a c t o r of ' f l e x i b i l i t y of closure', that i s , f l e x i b i l i t y i n the manipulation of several configurations. In d e s c r i b i n g t h i s f a c t o r Luchins (1959, p. 274) states that "here the subject i s presented with perceptual material which i s immediately perceived as a u n i f i e d configuration and i n which he i s asked to perceive a d i f f e r e n t configuration, the perception of which requires that he f i r s t destroys the immediately perceived u n i t y . " Thurstone (l944» P« 20) found that f l e x i b i l i t y of closure operated against "what the Gestalt psychologists have c a l l e d Gestaltbindung which seems to r e f e r to the r i g i d i t y of the per-ceived u n i t y i n a presentation." The Gottschaldt Embedded Figures Test and the Water Jar Test were both administered to the subjects i n O l i v e r ' s study. Comparisons were then . r si . made of the 30 l e a s t r i g i d subjects on the Water Jar Test and of the 18 most r i g i d subjects. The Embedded Figures score was 16.0 f o r the former group and 12.4 f o r the l a t t e r , the difference being s i g n i f i c a n t at the .01 l e v e l . Therefore, the l e a s t r i g i d group saw s i g n i f i c a n t l y more embedded f i g u r e s than d i d the most r i g i d group. To Luchins (l959, p. 274) t h i s meant that "The most r i g i d i n the E i n s t e l l u n g t e s t tended to show the most Gestaltbindung (or r i g i d i t y of perceived unity) i n the Gottschaldt-figures t e s t ; or, to put i t i n other words, the most f l e x i b l e i n the E i n s t e l l u n g t e s t showed the most f l e x i b i l i t y of closure i n the Gottschaldt-figures t e s t . " To summarize: Witkin has established that some i n d i v i d u a l s are more f i e l d dependent than others, a tendency best measured by Gottschaldt's Embedded Figures Test. Also, assuming that Witkin i s c o r r e c t , c e r t a i n per-s o n a l i t y f a c t o r s can be associated with t h i s perceptual field-dependency. 47 The two studies c i t e d above i n d i c a t e there i s a d e f i n i t e correspondence between such f i e l d dependency and cognitive r i g i d i t y , as measured by the Water J a r Test. I t was decided, therefore, to include both the Water Jar problems and the Embedded Figures i n the present t e s t battery with the aim of determining whether s u i c i d a l patients are more r i g i d than n o n s u i c i d a l patients and, correspondingly, whether they are also more field-dependent. I t was hypothesized that they would prove to be both.' 48 PROCEDURE Subject Population For purposes of t h i s study i t had been decided to use as experimental subjects persons who had made one or more serious attempts to commit s u i c i d e . A survey of mental health f a c i l i t i e s i n the Vancouver area qu i c k l y established that the best source f o r obtaining appropriate subjects was the Riverview Mental H o s p i t a l at Essondale. The writer therefore p e t i t i o n e d the superin-tendent of t h i s h o s p i t a l f o r permission to carry on the research there. In due course t h i s permission was granted. 1. Experimental Group P r i n c i p l e s of experimental design recommend the use of two groups of subjects, an experimental group and a co n t r o l group. I t i s also necessary that these groups be large enough to a f f o r d an opportunity to achieve s i g n i f i c a n t s t a t i s t i c a l r e s u l t s . Small sampling theory (Deming, 1961, p. 189, f f ) shows that samples as small as s i x can be used i n experimentation, since t e s t s of s i g n i f i c a n c e take the s i z e of the sample i n t o account. Although t h i s may be true, i t was thought that the use of more than s i x subjects might bet t e r approximate the population d i s t r i b u t i o n . Just how many more would be d e l i -mited by such f a c t o r s as the amount of time needed to tes t each subject, and the a v a i l a b i l i t y of su i t a b l e subjects and c o n t r o l s . Two types of ' s u i c i d a l i n d i v i d u a l s ' are admitted f o r treatment to the Riverview Mental H o s p i t a l . Those who have threatened to commit suicide constitute one group. The second involves persons who have made a suicide attempt, most commonly by sl a s h i n g t h e i r w r i s t s or by taking an overdose of drugs. Pew of these actual attempts are considered serious however since most are e f f o r t s to manipulate the s o c i a l environment or to c a l l a t t e n t i o n to 49 the i n d i v i d u a l ' s unhappiness. H o s p i t a l records r e v e a l that t r u l y l e t h a l attempts occur l e s s frequently, with no more than one i n ten of the ' s u i -c i d a l i n d i v i d u a l s ' being of t h i s type. For~thxs reason i t was feared that obtaining enough s u i t a b l e subjects f o r research might prove to be d i f f i c u l t . Obviously, possible candidates f i r s t had to be admitted to the h o s p i t a l because of a serious su i c i d e attempt. Secondly, as a safeguard measure, i t was decided that they should be considered highly l e t h a l by the p s y c h i a t r i s t i n charge of t h e i r case. With these f a c t s i n mind,, together with the p r i o r d e c i s i o n to use an N greater than 6, i t was o r i g i n a l l y proposed that 12 - 15 s u i t a b l e subjects be used i n the experimental ( s u i c i d a l ) group. 2. Control Group In view of the f a c t that the u n i t s of measurement are t e s t scores and t e s t responses, i t was considered necessary that a c o n t r o l group of non-s u i c i d a l i n d i v i d u a l s be used to determine whether they respond d i f f e r e n t l y than the experimental s u i c i d a l group. The c r u c i a l v a r i a b l e , therefore, i s s u i c i d a l i t y versus n o n s u i c i d a l i t y . At the same time, a number of other v a r i a b l e s may influence t e s t responses. Since these v a r i a b l e s are extraneous to the main experimental v a r i a b l e , they should be c o n t r o l l e d i n both groups.., A c a r e f u l perusal of the various t e s t manuals and l i t e r a t u r e , however, f a i l e d to show that such controls are necessary. Therefore, i t would have been poss i b l e to s e l e c t a c o n t r o l group of n o n s u i c i d a l i n d i v i d u a l s at random from the t o t a l n o n s u i c i d a l h o s p i t a l population. 3. Obtained Groups The f i r s t step of the research period was devoted to l o c a t i n g and 50 t e s t i n g experimental subjects, i . e . those i n d i v i d u a l s considered to be l e t h a l l y dangerous to themselves. Clerks i n the two admitting o f f i c e s of the h o s p i t a l were asked to l i s t the names of a l l ' s u i c i d a l i n d i v i d u a l s ' admitted i n t o t h e i r respective sections, as well as the i n d i v i d u a l ' s ward and the name of the physician on the case. Having thus secured the name of a l i k e l y candidate, the second step was to contact the charge nurse on the ward i n question. The charge nurse was u s u a l l y able to supply i n f o r -mation as to whether the i n d i v i d u a l had a c t u a l l y made.a suicide attempt and, i f so, the s e v e r i t y of i t . When i t was established that a serious attempt had been made, there remained only the matter of confirming the diagnosis with the physician i n charge and obtaining h i s permission to see the patient f o r research purposes. Nearly a l l the Riverview h o s p i t a l s t a f f involved proved to be most cooperative. In some cases they even supplied the names of l i k e l y subjects, u s u a l l y i n d i v i d u a l s who had become s u i c i d a l a f t e r being admitted to the h o s p i t a l and who had thus been omitted from the admitting o f f i c e l i s t s . In t h i s way"34 appropriate subjects were obtained. Each of these subjects then underwent 4 hours of t e s t i n g and interviews, a process which w i l l be described f u l l y i n l a t e r sections. In ten cases i t was impossible to complete t h i s t e s t i n g procedure. The reason f o r f a i l u r e v a r i e d : 3 or 4 of the subjects refused to cooperate s u f f i c i e n t l y ; 2 escaped from the h o s p i t a l ; 2 became i l l ; 2 had to be d i s -charged prematurely. As a r e s u l t , therefore, i t was possible to obtain a sample of 24 subjects, thus nearly doubling the o r i g i n a l number of proposed subjects. The second h a l f of the research period was devoted to f i n d i n g controls f o r these experimental subjects. In the end i t was possible to match 20 p a i r s of subjects. However, no adequate controls could be found 51 f o r 4 of the o r i g i n a l 24 s u i c i d a l patients and the data from these subjects were consequently omitted from the f i n a l s t a t i s t i c a l a n a l y s i s . The f o l l o w i n g i s a b r i e f d e s c r i p t i o n of the subjects used i n t h i s research. I t w i l l be noted that p a i r s of female subjects outnumber the male p a i r s by 14 to 6, which roughly r e f l e c t s the usual 3 to 1 r a t i o of female attempted s u i c i d e s to male attempted s u i c i d e s . SUICIDAL GROUP NON-SUICIDAL GROUP Female 1) 17 yr s . ; psychoneurotic depressive r e a c t i o n 2) 18 yrs.; adolescent adjustment problem -sc h i z o i d p e r s o n a l i t y 3) 19 y r s . ; psychoneurotic depressive r e a c t i o n -inadequate p e r s o n a l i t y 4) 21 yr s . ; acute anxiety r e a c t i o n 5) 21 y r s . ; sociopathic p e r s o n a l i t y disturbance -a r i t i - s o c i a l r e a c t i o n 6) 25 y r s . ; neurotic dependent 7) 28 yr s . ; sociopathic p e r s o n a l i t y disturbance -sexual d e v i a t i o n 8) 28 yr s . ; paranoid schizophrenic 9) 29 yr s . ; psychoneurotic depressive r e a c t i o n 1) 17 yr s . ; psychoneurotic depressive r e a c t i o n -a n t i - s o c i a l r e a c t i o n 2) 19 yrs.; adolescent adjustment problem 3) 18 yr s . ; psychoneurotic depressive r e a c t i o n 4) 23 yr s . ; psychoneurotic depressive r e a c t i o n -anxiety state 5) 24 yr s . ; sociopathic personality 6) 29 yr s . ; reactive-neurotic dependent 7) 27 yr s . ; sociopathic p e r s o n a l i t y disorder 8) 25 yrs.; schizophrenic r e a c t i o n , catatonic type -paranoid elements 9) 28 yr s . ; psychoneurotic depressive r e a c t i o n -inadequate p e r s o n a l i t y 10) 34 yrs.; psychoneurotic depressive reaction -hysterical elements 11) 39 yrs.; psychoneurotic depressive reaction 12) 44 yrs.; psychoneurotic depressive reaction 13) 47 yrs.; psychoneurotic depressive reaction 14) 47 yrs.; psychoneurotic dissociative reaction Males 1) 21 yrs.; psychoneurotic depressive reaction 2) 25 yrs.; sociopathic personality reaction -dyssocial personality 3) 26 yrs.; personality t r a i t disturbance -emotionally unstable personality 4) 35 yrs.; schizophrenic reaction -acute undifferentiated \ 5) 37 yrs.; personality t r a i t disorder -passive-aggressive personality -alcoholism 6) 39 yrs.; psychoneurotic depressive reaction 10) 36 yrs.; psychoneurotic personality disturbance hysterical type 11) 36 yrs.; psychoneurotic depressive reaction -anxiety reaction 12) 42 yrs. psychoneurotic depressive reaction 13) 48 yrs.; psychoneurotic depressive reaction 14) 45 yrs.; psychoneurotic dissociative reaction 1) 20 yrs.; psychoneurotic depressive reaction 2) 28 yrs.; sociopathic personality disorder 3) 25 yrs.; psychoneurotic depressive reaction -emotionally unstable personality 4) 33 yrs.; schizophrenic reaction -schizo-affective type 5) 35 yrs.; passive-aggressive personality -psychoneurotic depressive reaction 6) 37 yrs.; psychoneurotic depressive reaction KB: The above diagnoses were taken from the o f f i c i a l admitting forms of the Riverview Hospital. 53 C l i n i c a l Impressions: The T y p i c a l S u i c i d a l Subject The w r i t e r Endeavored to get as complete a case h i s t o r y as possible •V f o r each subject seen. The information f o r these h i s t o r i e s came from two sources: the h o s p i t a l medical f i l e s and the two interviews that formed part of the current t e s t i n g procedure. F i f t y - f o u r more or l e s s complete ,case h i s t o r i e s were gathered i n t h i s way, 34 of which dealt with the s u i c i d a l subjects. In perusing these l a t t e r h i s t o r i e s i t was apparent that many of them shared^common features. So true was t h i s , i n f a c t , that i t i s possible to describe what can be c a l l e d a ' t y p i c a l s u i c i d a l h i s t o r y ' . This t y p i c a l h i s t o r y beings with a rough and stormy childhood, (80$ of the su b j e c t s ) . Sometimes the parents had separated. v More often they had stayed together but alcoholism and/or p h y s i c a l abuse had l a r g e l y undermined any s t a b i l i t y i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p . School was u s u a l l y remembered as having been another unhappy experience (55$). Many of the subjects played truant as often as p o s s i b l e . A number had 'dropped out* to get married or go to work. S u i c i d a l i d e a t i o n and threats (45$), u s u a l l y manipulative i n nature, were common features during t h i s period. Sometimes a serious attempt was made. This too was u s u a l l y manipulative. The marriag©3 of these patients were u n i v e r s a l l y bad. They entered i n t o them at too e a r l y an age (55$) and had too many ch i l d r e n too soon. Periods of unemployment plagued the men. Impossible debts accrued. Eventually, but i n e v i t a b l y , the marriage s t a r t e d to get 'rocky' (70$). This brought on a serious auicide attempt and a period of h o s p i t a l i z a t i o n , followed, i n turn, by e f f o r t s to readjust the s i t u a t i o n . That these e f f o r t s often appeared to 54 succeed can u s u a l l y be a t t r i b u t e d to the f e e l i n g of g u i l t that the subject's partner had experienced f o l l o w i n g the s u i c i d e attempt. However, i n time, a new catastrophy would come along to threaten the marriage. This would p r e c i -p i t a t e another s u i c i d e attempt, more h o s p i t a l i z a t i o n , and so f o r t h . U ltimately the cycle would be broken by the spouse's desertion, a separation or divorce, circumstances which would i l l i c i t the patient's now c h a r a c t e r i s t i c response of attempting s u i c i d e . Perhaps s i g n i f i c a n t l y , i t was the men who seemed to f i n d the f i n a l break-up of t h e i r marriages hardest to take. One male subject cut h i s throat from ear to ear. A second jumped from a bridge. The des-perate nature of such acts can hardly be questioned. To summarize: a h i s t o r y t y p i c a l of the 34 s u i c i d a l i n d i v i d u a l s seen i n t h i s study includes: ( l ) a childhood marred by family d i f f i c u l t i e s , (2) e a r l y s u i c i d a l i d e a t i o n and threats, (3) an unhappy, often interrupted period of schooling, (4) an e a r l y marriage f o r which the subject was poorly prepared, and (5) periods of d i f f i c u l t i e s i n the marriage to which the subject responded with more or l e s s l e t h a l attempts to take h i s own l i f e . (eg. One female subject had slashed her w r i s t s more than 40 times.) The case h i s t o r i e s of the c o n t r o l patients showed greater content v a r i a t i o n than d i d those of the s u i c i d a l subjects. Like the s u i c i d a l sub-j e c t s , they had experienced d i f f i c u l t and unhappy periods during childhood and at school. However, s i g n i f i c a n t l y fewer of the controls had gone on to marry. Moreover, those who were married had apparently not suffered as much violence or as many re v e r s a l s as had the s u i c i d a l p a t i e n t s . Also s i g n i f i c a n t i s the f a c t that the c o n t r o l subjects had learned to deal with problems i n d i f f e r e n t ways leading, of course, to varying degrees of success. This l a t t e r point seems to be the great d i f f e r e n c e between the two groups. When circumstances became threatening or a problem s i t u a t i o n got 55 out of hand, the co n t r o l group t r i e d to cope i n numerous ways; the experi-mental group tended to respond i n one way, s u i c i d a l l y , instead. Tes't Administration Acquiring the name of an appropriate subject was only the f i r s t step i n what proved to be a somewhat involved procedure. As previously mentioned, i t was f i r s t necessary that the physician i n charge of the case gave h i s permission f o r the patient to be seen before arrangements could be made regarding the t e s t i n g schedule. Four hours of the patient's time were needed altogether. However, i n order to assure continued cooperation, i t was deemed necessary to spread these four hours over two or more days. This meant the p o s s i b i l i t y of c o n f l i c t with the h o s p i t a l ' s routine. This routine involved that c e r t a i n hours be set aside by the h o s p i t a l f o r occupational therapy, r e c r e a t i o n a l therapy, meals and ward meetings. Although patients could miss these a c t i v i t i e s i f absolutely necessary, they couldn't miss appointments with physicians, s o c i a l workers, or group therapy sessions. P a t i e n t s themselves were a f r a i d to miss v i s i t i n g hours whether they expected someone to v i s i t them or not. In addition, many had s p e c i f i c duties within the h o s p i t a l (eg. as a kitchen helper) and couldn't be seen at these times. Others received s p e c i a l treatment and thus could not always be seen. Each i n d i v i d u a l t e s t i n g schedule, therefore, had to be adjusted around these r e s t r i c t i o n s . As a r e s u l t the t o t a l t e s t i n g procedure i t s e l f was not only time consuming but also d i f f i c u l t t o arrange. Upon f i r s t meeting with a new subject, the writer introduced her-s e l f as a student from the Psychology Department of U.B.C. She explained that she was doing research on the topic of problem-solving behavior. She 56 also explained that, although t h i s research work was approved by the h o s p i t a l , i t was not done FOR the h o s p i t a l and, therefore, would have no e f f e c t on the treatment that the patient received while there. This l a t t e r point had to be repeatedly emphasized as many patients feared that speaking honestly to the w r i t e r might somehow delay t h e i r discharge from Riverview. The t o p i c of suicide was" not introduced during t h i s preliminary discussion. In f a c t , i t was intended that s u i c i d e not be discussed at a l l , unless the subject brought i t up. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , ALL of the experimental subjects d i d volunteer information about t h e i r suicide attempts. Indeed, t a l k i n g about i t seemed to be extremely important to them. Following t h i s b r i e f d iscussion, the Mooney Problem Check L i s t was given to the subject. 1. The Mooney Problem Check L i s t (Adult and Adolescent Forms) The Mooney Problem Check L i s t was chosen i n order to determine as quick l y as possible the general areas of d i f f i c u l t y f o r a s p e c i f i c i n d i v i -dual. The l i s t deals with nine common problem areas: ( l ) health, (2) economic s e c u r i t y , (3) self-improvement, (4) pe r s o n a l i t y , (5) home and family, (6) courtship, (7) sex, (8) r e l i g i o n , and (9) occupation. By nature of i t s design, the Check L i s t gives the subject an opportunity to both review and summarize h i s problems, while i t affords the researcher an o v e r a l l view of the i n d i v i d u a l ' s unique problem s i t u a t i o n . For these reasons i t was used as a means to 'break the i c e * , being the subject's i n i t i a l experience with the research procedure. Moreover, i n order to maximize t h i s ice-breaking e f f e c t , the f i r s t of two interviews took place upon the subject's completion of the l i s t . Then, using the Check L i s t as a guide, the researcher attempted to e s t a b l i s h more p r e c i s e l y the 57 nature of the problems confronting each subject. This interview brought the f i r s t t e s t i n g session to an end. The second began with the Test of S o c i a l Insight. 2. The Test of S o c i a l Insight (Adult E d i t i o n ) The aim of t h i s t e s t i s "to appraise the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c mode of rea c t i o n the i n d i v i d u a l uses i n r e s o l v i n g interpersonal ( s o c i a l ) problems" (Manual, p. 2 ) . The scope of the problem areas covered i n the te s t include: ( l ) home and family r e l a t i o n s ; (2) authority f i g u r e s and s o c i a l agencies; (3) play and avocational i n t e r e s t s , and •-("4") work and vocational i n t e r e s t s . ;Altogether i n the t e s t s i x t y problem s i t u a t i o n s are described and, foll o w i n g the statement of each problem, f i v e a l t e r n a t i v e modes of r e s o l u t i o n are o f f e r e d to the i n d i v i d u a l . The f i v e a l t e r n a t i v e s are: (a) Withdrawal: "The i n d i v i d u a l avoids or escapes the problem by lea v i n g the s o c i a l problem area." (b) P a s s i v i t y : "The i n d i v i d u a l remains i n the s o c i a l problem area, but i s passive, choosing not to p a r t i c i p a t e i n the s o l u t i o n of the problem." (c) Co-operation: "The i n d i v i d u a l i n i t i a t e s an act i v e and p o s i t i v e endeavor d i r e c t e d at the s o l u t i o n of the problem." (d) Competition: "The i n d i v i d u a l engages i n a c t i v i t y that e l i c i t e s the at t e n t i o n of others: he attempts to excel or outdo others as a means of dealing with the s o c i a l problem." (e) Aggression: "The i n d i v i d u a l makes l i t t l e e f f o r t toward s o l v i n g the problem, and i s p r i m a r i l y concerned with expressing h o s t i l i t y or strong emotional f e e l i n g s i n d i r e c t response to the problem." The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c , p a t t e r n and the degree of r i g i d i t y i n that 58 pattern, i s determined from the respective frequency of the modes of r e s o l u t i o n chosen. 3. The Water Jar Problems Luchins' Water Jar Test, the mos-t frequently used measure of r i g i -d i t y , i s designed to a s c e r t a i n how i n d i v i d u a l s behave i n a problem so l v i n g s i t u a t i o n when a l t e r n a t i v e modes of response are a v a i l a b l e to them. I t i s not a d i f f i c u l t t e s t to administer, i s of a convenient length, and i s i n t e r e s t i n g to the subject. Scoring i s r e l a t i v e l y s t r a i g h t forward. A d e t a i l e d d e s c r i p t i o n of the Water Jar Problems appears i n an e a r l i e r chapter, together with standardized i n s t r u c t i o n s f o r t h e i r admini-s t r a t i o n . The ac t u a l t e s t i n g procedure as used i n t h i s research was as follows: Only one subject was tested at any given time. To begin the session a copy of the p r i n t e d i n s t r u c t i o n s was given to the subject. He was asked to read i t slowly and to re-read i f necessary. (Questions were discouraged as much as possible.) The subject was t o l d to v e r b a l i z e the steps he would take to solve the problem, rather than write them down as the i n s t r u c t i o n s d i r e c t e d . (Written answers were necessitated by the group approach Luchins used. However, they were not needed i n the present one-to-one t e s t i n g s i t u a t i o n . ) The subject was also t o l d that, although t h i s was not a t e s t of speed, the amount of time he took to solve each problem would be noted. This statement was r e i n f o r c e d by the experimenter by taking a stop-watch out of the desk drawer and p l a c i n g i t i n open view. P e n c i l s and scrap paper were provided f o r rough work. The t e s t then began. As the subject worked, the writ e r noted both the method chosen to solve each problem and the amount of time taken. And, taking a note from 59 Luchins' preliminary study, she i n s t r u c t e d each subject to write the words "Don't be b l i n d " on t h e i r scrap paper upon the completion of problem s i x , hoping thus to minimize the E i n s t e l l u n g e f f e c t . Any difference i n r i g i d i t y between the groups, therefore, would be even more s i g n i f i c a n t f o r i t would represent not only the workings of the E i n s t e l l u n g e f f e c t but, i n add i t i o n , a disregard f o r the given warning. 4. The Embedded Figures Test F i e l d dependency, or the lack of i t , i s most conveniently assessed by the Embedded Figures Test. As mentioned e a r l i e r , t h i s t e s t was o r i g i n -a l l y developed by Gottschaldt i n 1926. Since then i t has been most exten-s i v e l y used by H.A. Witkin and h i s colleagues (1950, 1962). The t e s t c o nsists of 8 'simple' f i g u r e s and 24 'complex* f i g u r e s . Each simple f i g u r e i s contained or 'embedded' i n several d i f f e r e n t complex f i g u r e s . For example, there are 5 complex f i g u r e s containing the simple f i g u r e A, as shown i n Figure 2. To begin t e s t i n g , each subject i s given the same i n s t r u c t i o n s . These are as follows: I am going to show you a se r i e s of colored designs. Each time I show you one of these designs, I want you to describe the o v e r - a l l pattern that you see i n i t . A f t e r you examine each design, I w i l l show you a simpler f i g u r e , which i s con-tained i n that l a r g e r design. You w i l l then be given the l a r g e r design again, and your job w i l l be to locate the smaller f i g u r e i n i t . Let us go through one to show you how i t i s done. (Witkin, 1950, p. 7) The p r a c t i c e complex-figure, P - l , was then shown to the subject f o r 15 seconds, followed by the p r a c t i c e simple-figure, P. When t h i s , i n turn, had been removed, the complex f i g u r e , P - l , was presented f o r the second time, with i n s t r u c t i o n s to locate the simple f i g u r e embedded i n i t . When the 60 subject reported that he had found t h i s simple f i g u r e , he was asked to trace i t f o r the experimenter. This t r a c i n g was done to assure the experi-menter that the correct f i g u r e had,been found. A f t e r the p r a c t i c e session, the subject was given the f o l l o w i n g a d d i t i o n a l i n s t r u c t i o n s : This i s how we w i l l proceed on a l l t r i a l s . I would l i k e to add that i n every case the smaller f i g u r e w i l l be present i n the l a r g e r design. It w i l l always be i n the upright p o s i t i o n . There may be several of the smaller f i g u r e s i n the same large design, but you are to look only f o r the one i n the upright p o s i t i o n . Work as q u i c k l y as you p o s s i b l y can, since I w i l l be timing you; but be sure that the f i g u r e you f i n d i s exactly the same as the o r i g i n a l f i g u r e both i n s i z e and i n proportions. As soon as you have found the f i g u r e , t e l l me at once. If you ever forget what the small f i g u r e looks -l i k e , you may ask to see i t again. Are there any questions? This same procedure was used on a l l 24 t e s t t r i a l s . The subject was, of course, c a r e f u l l y timed on each of these t r i a l s as h i s score was equal to the t o t a l amount of time taken. On each t r i a l a maximum of 5 minutes was allowed. P i g . 2: An Example of Simple and Complex Figures i n the Embedded Figures Test 62 R e l i a b i l i t y and V a l i d i t y of Tests 1. The Mooney Problem Check L i s t Although r e l i a b i l i t y i s d i f f i c u l t to e s t a b l i s h because of the nature of the t e s t responses, considerable s t a b i l i t y of pooled r e s u l t s f o r groups i s reported. S i m i l a r l y r e s u l t s of studies i n d i c a t e considerable con-current v a l i d i t y . Burgess who reviewed the Mooney Problem Check L i s t s ( i n Buros, 1965, 145) states that "the information a v a i l a b l e from a l l sources suggests that the popul a r i t y of the Mooney Problem Check L i s t s i s w e l l deserved . . . .". 2. Test of S o c i a l Insight T o t a l score r e l i a b i l i t y i s reported as r = .84 while v a l i d i t y c o e f f i c i e n t s "appear to be accumulating" (Pierce-Jones, i n Buros, 1965, 190). He concludes that the "TSI i s a promising e f f o r t to measure v a r i a b l e s of obvious i n t e r e s t and importance to research psychologists . . .". 3. Embedded Figures Test The r e l i a b i l i t y of t h i s t e s t appears to be excellent ( r = .905). The v a l i d i t y a l s o seems to be both s i g n i f i c a n t and generally high. Gough ( i n Buros, 1965, 89) "has no doubt that within 15 to 20 years the embedded f i g u r e kind of content w i l l be as basic i n cognitive t e s t b a t t e r i e s as analogies, progressions, s p a t i a l manipulations, and quantitative analyses are today." 4. Water Jar Test This t e s t has much data i n d i c a t i n g both a h i g h ^ r e l i a b i l i t y and v a l i d i t y f o r the type of r i g i d i t y measured by Luchins. 63 In summary, there seems to be l i t t l e doubt that a l l four t e s t s are at l e a s t promising research t o o l s which could be applied i n various settings with proper background data. 64 RESULTS 1. The Mooney Problem Check L i s t As Table 2 i n d i c a t e s , of the nine.areas dealt with by the Mooney Problem Check L i s t only two showed s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s between the s u i c i d a l and c o n t r o l groups. ('Significance* meaning beyond the .05 l e v e l . ) These were the areas of self-improvement and r e l i g i o n . ' TABLE 2 Obtained Scores of S u i c i d a l and Non-suicidal Patients on 9 Variables of the Mooney Problem Check L i s t Variable S u i c i d a l Group Non-suicidal Group Health 108 147 Economic Security 151 153 Self-improvement 196* 246 P e r s o n a l i t y 402 445 Home and Family 159 160 Courtship 41 61 Sex 39 35 R e l i g i o n 34* 61 Occupation 47 65 • d i f f e r e n c e s i g n i f i c a n t at p < .05 (a) Self-Improvement: Control subjects gave f a r more responses i n t h i s category than d i d the s u i c i d a l subjects, (246 as compared to 196). (b) R e l i g i o n : A s i m i l a r p i c t u r e i s seen here, with c o n t r o l subjects making nearly twice as many responses as the s u i c i d a l group, (61 versus 34). 65 These f i n d i n g s i n d i c a t e that the non-suicidal patients tend to be s i g n i f i c a n t l y more concerned with improving themselves and with matters pe r t a i n i n g to r e l i g i o n . 2. The Test of S o c i a l Insight The Test of S o c i a l Insight o f f e r s the subject f i v e a l t e r n a t i v e modes of r e s o l v i n g a problem s i t u a t i o n : withdrawal, p a s s i v i t y , co-operation, competition and aggression. TABLE 3 . Obtained Scores of S u i c i d a l and Non-Suicidal Patients on 5 Variables of the Test of S o c i a l Insight Withdrawal P a s s i v i t y Co-operation Competition Aggression Group S u i c i d a l 120 213* 629 122* 116 Non-suicidal 102 177 663 148 112 * d i f f e r e n c e s i g n i f i c a n t at p < .05 The r e s u l t s of the t e s t i n d i c a t e that, with regard to c h a r a c t e r i s t i c manner of r e s o l u t i o n , s u i c i d a l i n d i v i d u a l s d i f f e r from the non-suicidal i n two ways. They are ( l ) s i g n i f i c a n t l y more passive (beyond the .05 l e v e l ) , and (2) s i g n i f i c a n t l y l e s s competitive (also beyond the .05 l e v e l ) . Although between-group differences i n the other three modes did not reach the l e v e l of s t a t i s t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e , they were i n the d i r e c t i o n s that one would expect: i . e . s u i c i d a l patients tended to be more withdrawn, more aggressive, and l e s s co-operative than the c o n t r o l s . 3. The Water Jar Test Two things were noted about the performance of subjects on the Water Jar Test: ( l ) the amount of time taken to solve each problem; and (2) whether the d i r e c t or the E i n s t e l l u n g method was used i n the ' c r i t i c a l ' problems 7, 66 8, 10 and 11. As a matter of interest, the subject's reaction to problem 9 was also recorded.v(it w i l l be remembered that this i s an extinction-type problem, being solvable by the direct method only.) (l) A straightforward comparison was made of the total amount of time needed by each group to solve the c r i t i c a l problems. (See Table 4). A t-test of the data yielded a value of 1.76. As the .05 significance level for a one-tail test with forty degrees of freedom i s 1.68, the value obtained i s significant beyond the .05 leve l . In translation this means that the suicidal patients took a significantly longer period of time to solve the c r i t i c a l Water Jar problems than did the non-suicidal controls. TABLE 4 Scores (in Seconds) of Suicidal and Non-suicidal Patients on the C r i t i c a l Problems of Luchins' Water Jar Problems Test Total number of seconds Suicidal Group Non-suicidal Group 375-399 1 350-376 325-349 300-324 275-299 3 1 250-274 225-249 1 200-224 1 175-199 3 1 150-174 1 2 125-149 2 2 100-124 1 4 75-99 3 2 50-74 5 5 25-49 1 0-24 1 (2) Reference to Table 5 below w i l l show the relative percentage of Einstellung and direct methods u t i l i z e d by each group. TABLE 5 The E i n s t e l l u n g E f f e c t f o r Suicidal, and Non-suicidal Patients $ E solutions $ d i r e c t s olutions Group: (CI, C2) (P3, C4) ( C l , C2) (C3, C4) S u i c i d a l 100 65 0 35 (N-20) Non-suicidal 90 50 10 50 (N-20) These r e s u l t s show that: a. A strong E i n s t e l l u n g e f f e c t was evident i n both groups. At no time was t h i s e f f e c t reduced to l e s s than 50$, which i s a r e l a t i v e l y high l e v e l compared to Luchins' groups. b. The warning "Don't be b l i n d " had l i t t l e e f f e c t . The s u i c i d a l patients appeared to ignore i t e n t i r e l y , while only two c o n t r o l subjects 'got the message'. (Strangely enough, both of these patients had been diagnosed as 'sociopathic p e r s o n a l i t y ' . Whether t h i s i s s i g n i f i c a n t i s a subject f o r speculation.) c. vSeventeen of the twenty s u i c i d a l p atients ( i . e . 85$) f a i l e d to solve problem nine. As table 5 i n d i c a t e s , only four of these p r o f i t e d s u f f i c i e n t l y from the experience to question the method they were using. Thirteen c o n t r o l subjects (65$) s i m i l a r l y f a i l e d at problem nine. Three of these took the time to re-evaluate t h e i r approach. Eventually ten of the controls (50$) discovered the d i r e c t method. 4. The Embedded Figures Test Administrating the Embedded Figures proved to be an awesome task. Analyzing the r e s u l t s of the t e s t therefore seemed, i f not p e r f e c t l y simple, at l e a s t r e l a t i v e l y straightforward. 68 The sum of time scores f o r each group was converted i n t o seconds, (see table 6). This t o t a l f o r the s u i c i d a l group was 44,593 seconds and f o r the c o n t r o l group, 29,993 seconds, y i e l d i n g 37'6" and 24'33" as the respec-t i v e means. An an a l y s i s of variance run on the data y i e l d e d an P value of 4.41. As the tables give a l e s s e r value (4.10) at the .05 l e v e l of s i g n i -f i c a n c e , we are able to accept with some confidence the hypothesis the s u i c i d a l p a tients are perceptually more field-dependent than are non-s u i c i d a l p a t i e n t s . TABLE 6 Scores ( i n seconds) of S u i c i d a l and Non-suicidal P a t i e n t s on the Embedded Figures Test ect No. S u i c i d a l Group Non-suicidal Group 1. 4778 2858 2. 4462 2727 3. 4161 2283 4. 4033 2209 5. 3348 1789 6. 2994 1776 7. 2684 1774 8. 2491 1735 9. 2409 1735 10. 2240 1471 11. 2209 1381 12. 1992 " 1374 13. 1677 1373 14. 1313 1188 15, 904 1112 16. 789 946 17. 690 857 18. 680 726 19. 577 502 20. 162 433 69 DISCUSSION There were two areas of s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s on the Mooney Problem Check L i s t : ( l ) self-improvement and (2) r e l i g i o n . An item by item a n a l y s i s of the *self-improvement' section shows that t h i s one r u b r i c deals with at l e a s t three i n t e r r e l a t e d t o p i c s : s e l f -concept, s o c i a l i z a t i o n , and the u t i l i z a t i o n of time. The small number of responses, plus the type of response made, in d i c a t e that the s u i c i d a l p atients have a markedly poorer concept of them-selves. Moreover, there i s a c e r t a i n resigned acceptance of t h i s poor s e l f -image. I t i s as though they f e e l that they l a c k the capacity f o r s e l f -improvement. There i s an a i r of hopelessness about t h i s whole area. There i s a s i m i l a r sense of f u t i l i t y about s o c i a l i z a t i o n . S o c i a l i -z a t i o n involves a c e r t a i n f o r g e t t i n g of s e l f i n order to become involved with others. S u i c i d a l patients seem unable to forget themselves to t h i s extent. Instead, they tend to brood over t h e i r problems i n i s o l a t i o n . They are chronic worriers. These f i n d i n g s are f u r t h e r r e f l e c t e d i n the s u i c i d a l p a t i e n t s ' i n a b i l i t y to appreciate or u t i l i z e l e i s u r e time. Pew had hobbies, indulged i n outside diversionary a c t i v i t i e s , or had other means to reduce the tension b u i l t up i n the course of d a i l y l i v i n g . The responses of the s u i c i d a l p atients to ' r e l i g i o u s ' items were also rather r e v e a l i n g . S p e c i f i c a l l y , as a group, they seemed strangely i n d i f f e r e n t to r e l i g i o n . Some were even openly contemptuous, having long since r e j e c t e d any o f f e r of help from t h i s source. This a t t i t u d e seemed to underscore the basic aloneness of the s u i c i d a l p a t i e n t s . I f asked, few s u i c i d a l patients were able to describe t h e i r 70 •philosophy of l i f e * . Most denied having any. Thus they were s i n g u l a r l y devoid of guide-lines f o r l i v i n g . As i n the Mooney, the Test of S o c i a l Insight emphasized the s u i c i d a l p a t i e n t s ' r e l a t i v e l a c k of s k i l l at s o c i a l i z i n g . When faced with a problem of an interpersonal -nature, they i n v a r i a b l y chose to respond pas s i v e l y , with-drawing from the s i t u a t i o n altogether i f p o s s i b l e . I f unable to r e t r e a t e n t i r e l y , they would simply refuse to co-operate with the others involved i n the problem. The s i g n i f i c a n t l y fewer competitive responses made by the s u i c i d a l p a tients gives evidence of t h e i r basic d i s l i k e f o r competition. When questioned about t h i s , they made remarks which can best be i n t e r p r e t e d as r e f l e c t i n g t h e i r f e a r of always being second best. (Another r e f l e c t i o n of the s u i c i d a l patient's poor self-concept.) The number of aggressive responses of s u i c i d a l patients d i d not d i f f e r s i g n i f i c a n t l y from those of non-suicidal p a t i e n t s . This, therefore, would tend to throw some doubt on the credence of those theories of suicide which emphasize d i r e c t i n g aggression against the s e l f , (eg. the psycho-a n a l y t i c theories, and Henry and Short (l954) e t c . ) . In a d d i t i o n to s u i c i d a l patients being more passive and l e s s compe-t i t i v e than the c o n t r o l p a t i e n t s , they also displayed s i g n i f i c a n t l y more r i g i d i t y . This l a t t e r was i n d i c a t e d by t h e i r responses on the Water Jar Test. I f we accept Luchins' i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of r i g i d i t y as cor r e c t , t h i s means that the s u i c i d a l p atients displayed l e s s genuine problem-solving behavior on the t e s t , tending instead to respond to the s e r i e s as a unitarysWhole. Conver-se l y , i t means that the non-suicidal c o n t r o l subjects were bett e r able to view each problem as a separate unique opportunity f o r decision-making. 71 What does t h i s i n d i c a t e about s u i c i d a l patients? It could i n d i c a t e that, i n s t r e s s f u l s i t u a t i o n s , s u i c i d a l i n d i v i d u a l s tend to become more r i g i d more quic k l y than c o n t r o l s . (That the Water Jar problems were stress-inducing cannot be doubted. Arithmetic problems seem to be inherently s t r e s s f u l , while i n t h i s case, the stop watch was an a d d i t i o n a l f a c t o r of stress.) This tendency to become r i g i d i n a s t r e s s f u l problem-solving s i t u a t i o n means that s u i c i d a l i n d i v i d u a l s are unable to recognize the e x i -stence of a l t e r n a t i v e courses of a c t i o n . Or, i f they r e a l i z e that a l t e r -natives e x i s t , they nevertheless tend to adhere to those patterns of behavior which have been e f f e c t i v e i n the past. S u i c i d a l behavior can be very e f f e c t i v e and, thus, i t i s not d i f f i -c u l t to understand why i t should become the preferred mode of response under c e r t a i n circumstances. In the f i r s t place, although the o r i g i n a l problem remains unsolved, the i n d i v i d u a l no longer has to cope with i t . He has been e n t i r e l y removed from the problem s i t u a t i o n and, thus, f o r the time being, i s no longer threatened by i t s s t r e s s . Moreover, there have been other d r a s t i c changes i n the environment. The s i g n i f i c a n t others i n h i s world have been e f f e c t i v e l y mobilized to a s s i s t him. The resources of the com-munity have been mobilized too, and he f i n d s himself the subject of a t t e n t i o n f o r doctors, nurses, psychologists and so f o r t h . Therefore, the suicide attempt appears to be the s i n g l e most e f f e c t i v e a c t i o n the i n d i v i d u a l could have undertaken. The attempt caused a maximum reduction i n tension, escape from the problem s i t u a t i o n , and had other r e i n f o r c i n g consequences such as m o b i l i z a t i o n of ' s i g n i f i c a n t others' and community resources. I t i s very l i k e l y , therefore, that when next faced with a problem-solving s i t u a t i o n that i s o s t e n s i b l y s i m i l a r i n i t s s t r e s s f u l character, instead of looking 72 f o r a l t e r n a t i v e responses, the i n d i v i d u a l w i l l tend to respond i n a s u i c i d a l manner. The perception that the s u i c i d a l patient has of a problem s i t u a t i o n can be l a b e l e d as being f i e l d dependent. This i s shown i n t h e i r responses to the Embedded Figures Test. According to Witkin (1962) the f o l l o w i n g person-a l i t y f a c t o r s are associated with f i e l d dependence: an i n a b i l i t y to function independently of environmental supports, an absence of i n i t i a t i n g a c t i v i t y , low self-esteem, d i f f i c u l t y i n c o n t r o l l i n g anxiety, and a r e l a t i v e l y p r i m i -t i v e , u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d body image. I f Witkin i s correct, i t i s then possible to a t t r i b u t e these p e r s o n a l i t y f a c t o r s to s u i c i d a l p a t i e n t s . In a d d i t i o n , the Embedded Figures also i n d i c a t e that s u i c i d a l i n d i v i d u a l s tend to define themselves i n terms of the environment. They r e l y , not upon themselves i n matters of judgment, but upon environmental cues. The danger i s that they seem unable to s e l e c t the relevant f a c t o r s . They are o v e r - i n c l u s i v e and, hence, tend to over-react to, or be adversely influenced by, setbacks and disturbances i n the environmental equilibrium. In summary, t h i s study has established that i n a problem so l v i n g s i t u a t i o n the s u i c i d a l patient i s perceptually unable to separate the relevant from the i r r e l e v a n t aspects, making them a l l appear to be of equal importance. The r e s u l t a n t ambiguity i n the s i t u a t i o n creates a state of i n d e c i s i o n about how best to tackle the problem. The easiest way out of t h i s predicament i s not to act at a l l . However, when circumstances force the s u i c i d a l patient to f i n d a s o l u t i o n , h i s poor s e l f concept, h i s passive tendencies, and h i s reluctance to seek assistance from others i n h i s environ-ment induce the person to behave i n a stereotyped r i g i d manner. These r e s u l t s seem to corroborate f i n d i n g s made by other researchers as w e l l as suggest that the area of problem s o l v i n g behavior may play an important r o l e i n the dynamics of s u i c i d e . 73 SUMMARY This study investigated two aspects of s u i c i d a l behavior which, to date, have received l i t t l e a t t e n t i o n from researchers. These are ( l ) problem-solving behavior and (2) perception. A matched-pairs experimental design was used i n the study. The subjects were f o r t y neuropsychiatric patients from the Riverview Hospital at Essondale. Twenty of these ( l 4 women and 6 men) were patients who had been admitted because of serious s u i c i d e attempts. They comprised the experimental group. The other twenty were non-suicidal c o n t r o l p a t i e n t s , matched to the f i r s t group i n terms of sex, age and p s y c h i a t r i c diagnosis. In the f i r s t part of the study, a t t e n t i o n was focused on three dimensions of problem-solving as measured by the Mooney Problem Check L i s t , the Test of S o c i a l Insight and Luchins' Water Jar Problems Test r e s p e c t i v e l y : ( l ) Nine problem areas are dealt with by the Mooney Problem Check L i s t . The use of t h i s t e s t established that s u i c i d a l patients d i f f e r from the n o n - s u i c i d a l i n two areas, self-improvement and r e l i g i o n . In both instances, the non-suicidal c o n t r o l patients evidenced a greater sense of concern than d i d the s u i c i d a l p a t i e n t s . (2) The Test of S o c i a l Insight i n v e s t i g a t e s the subject's character-i s t i c mode of response to problems of an interpersonal nature. This t e s t showed that, i n responding to problems of t h i s nature, the s u i c i d a l patients are s i g n i f i c a n t l y more passive and l e s s competitive than the c o n t r o l p a t i e n t s . (3) Luchins' Water Jar Problems Test demonstrates the e f f e c t of r i g i d i t y i n problem-solving. Using t h i s t e s t established that, i n a s t r e s s f u l problem-solving s i t u a t i o n , s u i c i d a l i n d i v i d u a l s tend to become r i g i d more quick l y than non-suicidal i n d i v i d u a l s . 74 The second part of the study was devoted to the i n v e s t i g a t i o n of perception i n s u i c i d a l i n d i v i d u a l s . Finding that an i n d i v i d u a l i s 1 fields-dependent' means that he tends to place an over-emphasis on the importance of environmental f a c t o r s i n perception. This concept of field-dependence or independence was inve s t i g a t e d by means of Witkin's Embedded Figures t e s t . 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