Hopelessness, Interpersonal, and Emotion Dysregulation Perspectives on Suicidal Ideation: Tests in a Clinical Sample


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Objective: The present study directly compared three perspectives of suicidality: Interpersonal Theory of Suicide (IPTS), Hopelessness Theory, and a perspective emphasizing emotion dysregulation. Method: 219 adults seeking outpatient psychological services completed questionnaires during intake between November 2015 and February 2019. Patients were included if they completed surveys related to thwarted belongingness (TB), perceived burdensomeness (PB), hopelessness, depressive symptoms, negative affect, and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) symptoms. Analyses tested the ability of TB, PB, depressive symptoms, hopelessness, and emotion dysregulation to relate to total scores on Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation. We employed Pearson’s correlations and linear regressions to investigate these relations. Results: Constructs related to emotion dysregulation—negative affect (r = 0.161, p < .05) and Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms (r = 0.284, p < .01)—were significantly correlated with suicidal ideation, as were those relevant to Hopelessness Theory—depressive symptoms (r = 0.46, p < .01) and hopelessness (r = 0.45, p < .01)— and IPTS—TB (r = 0.36, p < .01) and PB (r = 0.43, p < .01). Notably the combinations of constructs as proposed by theories were significantly associated with suicidal ideation, but did not improve upon single constructs. This indicated that theoretically relevant constructs alone were strongly associated with suicidal ideation, but were not bested by interactions. Conclusions: This project compared constructs relevant to three theories of suicidality among a sample of treatment seeking outpatients. Findings indicated that suicidal ideation assessment was similarly informed by Hopelessness Theory and IPTS, and to a lesser degree emotion dysregulation. The cross sectional nature of the data and the reliance upon self-report measures limit the inferences that can be made.

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