Hypothesis Testing

The team was assigned the task of forming a hypothesis test on, whether it is easier to cope with the death of a loved one, via suicide, if they leave some form of final communication or rationale. Using a hypothesis test and the five-step process, the team formed to prove that, Loved ones of those left behind by suicide are able to express more comfort with their loved one’s decision if a note has been left behind. The hypothesis test gives validation behind why final communication has the potential to provide comfort to the loved ones. Also, by leaving a note, the null hypothesis can be rejected. In this case, the null hypothesis would be that there is no difference in the grieving process for the loved ones of people who commit suicide, whether a note was left or not. It can be relevant to those that may face such tragedies; which can give a more clear reasoning. Suicide, the act of taking one’s own life, was the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for nearly 35,000 deaths, in 2007 (Suicide in the U.S., n.d.). Intentionally ending one’s own life, leaves loved ones to cope after the loss.

Death by suicide can touch many people; those who were close to the person and even those who barely knew them. Harvard Medical suggests that with each suicide, six close survivors will be left to cope with significant loss (Left behind after suicide, July, 2009). Many loved ones are left with unanswered questions, feelings of denial, and wondering if they could have prevented the death in any way (Suicide grief, May, 2012). Death by suicide can be a quick spontaneous decision or it can be carefully orchestrated to ensure the person’s affairs have been taken care of. Some individuals will take the time to compile written means of communication to those they have left behind and some do not. It is said that 34% of people who commit suicide will leave a note (Left behind after suicide, July 2009). The written letter may or may not shed light into why the person performed the life-ending event (Craeger, 2012).

By understanding how people interpret the written communication from their loved ones, psychologists and therapists can gain the opportunity to optimize the grief counseling process. A note can leave people searching for answers as to why this happened and hope in finding closure within the document (Craeger, 2012). Along with that, however, letters can leave things unsaid that the recipient was hoping to hear (Craeger, 2012). Learning how to guide survivors of attempted suicide through the letters that they left can also be important for all grief counselors. The hypothesis surrounding this topic is that loved ones of those left behind by suicide are able to express more comfort with their loved one’s decision, if a note was left behind. The idea that loved ones have a possible means to look into the victim’s last thoughts may provide them with more comfort with the decision to end their life.

To evaluate this hypothesis along the conventional tract, we would first posit. When a person that commits suicide leaves behind a note, it can help reduce the length of grieving for those that were close to the person. Also, we would need to consider the null hypothesis where leaving a note does not affect the grieving process, nor does it offer any comfort to loved ones. If the hypothesis is correct, the mean (in terms of months, years, etc.) will prove recovery and grief time to be significantly lower when a note was left behind. If the null hypothesis is proven to be true for both populations there will not be any significant change in the time of grief ensued. The hypothesis will be approached by examining the populations from the data gathered. Next, the cutoff score will need to be established. A start point, as well as an end point, will need to be determined to base the differences, if any, between the populations.

This task proves challenging as the time taken to grieve after suicide varies and often remains dormant. Another challenge is determining whether or not someone has fully grieved for someone in the exact definition sought. In one case, where a note to loved ones was left, it was reported that their grief was abated to the point that they could function the same as they could before the suicide (Mitchell, 2004). From this, we believe a fair cutoff score would show, beyond a doubt, that the grieving process was reduced to 4.5 months, if a note was left. If the cases show that grief was reduced from the average of 8 months to 4.5 months, there is little doubt as to what is true. The void that is left in the lives of loved ones can be difficult to understand, but when there is some form of communication left behind, some are able to cope better, as well as express some form of comfort.

Having answers to some of the loved one’s questions, helps them cope with the suicide. This, however, does not always give a complete understanding, and questions can remain unanswered. In conclusion, the hypothesis is worthy of consideration because it could potentially provide an area of focus for those aiding loved ones of suicide victims during the grieving process. As mentioned, there are potential hurdles while attempting to reject the null hypothesis, but nonetheless, this is definitely an area of interest. Counselors could benefit from cases where the victims left notes because it would give them an opportunity to better aid the grieving loved ones, all the while comforting them and cutting the grieving period almost in half. Among other benefits, the comfort of those suffering to such a stark extent should vindicate our position enough.

Craeger, E. (2012, September 9). Last words: Suicide note leaves as many questions as answers for survivors. Retrieved from: Last-words-Suicide-notes-leave-as-many-questions-as-answers-for-survivors. Left behind after suicide. (July, 2009). Retrieved April 14, 2014, from Harvard Health Publications; Harvard Medical School website: Suicide grief: Healing after a loved one’s suicide. (May, 2012). Retrieved April 14, 2014, from Mayo Clinic website: Suicide in the U.S.: Statistics and Prevention. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2014, from National
Institutes of Health website:

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