Dynamic Changes in a Desire to Escape from Interpersonal Adversity: A Fluid Experimental Assessment of the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide
Given suicide risk is dynamic, research needs to identify the factors responsible for these changes. This can be achieved through experimentally manipulating putative causal risk factors. Two studies experimentally manipulated a change in interpersonal risk factors (thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness) to assess the influence on participants’ desire to escape. Study 1 (N = 74) found manipulating simultaneous changes in burdensomeness and belongingness rapidly changed participants’ desire to escape. In Study 2 (N = 54), a change in only thwarted belongingness was still effective in quickly changing participants’ desire to escape from the task, even in the presence of heightened feelings of burdensomeness. The findings speak to the causal role that changes in the levels of interpersonal risk factors may play in influencing a desire to escape from adverse life circumstances.
KeywordsInterpersonal theory of suicide Belongingness Perceived burdensomeness Experimental psychopathology
This research was supported in part by an ARC Linkage Grant (LP 150100503) and an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Michael J. Kyron, Anna C. Badcock, Elliot Baker-Young, Werner G. K. Stritzke, and Andrew C. Page declare that there is no conflict of interest.
No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.
All procedures were approved and conducted in accordance with the University of Western Australia Human Research Ethics Committee’s ethical guidelines.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Bagge, C. L., Littlefield, A. K., & Glenn, C. R. (2017). Trajectories of affective response as warning signs for suicide attempts: An examination of the 48 hours prior to a recent suicide attempt. Clinical Psychological Science, 5(2), 259–271. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167702616681628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Collins, K. R., Best, I., Stritzke, W. G., & Page, A. C. (2016). Mindfulness and zest for life buffer the negative effects of experimentally-induced perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness: Implications for theories of suicide. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 125(5), 704. https://doi.org/10.1037/abn0000167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Collins, K. R., Stebbing, C., Stritzke, W. G., & Page, A. C. (2017). A Brief Mindfulness Intervention Attenuates Desire to Escape Following Experimental Induction of the Interpersonal Adversity Implicated in Suicide Risk. Mindfulness. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0686-1&%23x200E;.Google Scholar
- Hartley, E. L., Stritzke, W. G., Page, A. C., Blades, C. A., & Parentich, K. T. (2018). Neuroticism confers vulnerability in response to experimentally induced feelings of thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness: Implications for suicide risk. Journal of Personality. https://doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12415.Google Scholar
- Joiner, T. E. (2005). Why people die by suicide. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Joiner, T. E., Ribeiro, J. D., & Silva, C. (2012). Nonsuicidal self-injury, suicidal behavior, and their co-occurrence as viewed through the lens of the interpersonal theory of suicide. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21(5), 342–347. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721412454873.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kleiman, E. M., Turner, B. J., Fedor, S., Beale, E. E., Huffman, J. C., & Nock, M. K. (2017). Examination of real-time fluctuations in suicidal ideation and its risk factors: Results from two ecological momentary assessment studies. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 126(6), 726. https://doi.org/10.1037/abn0000273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rudd, M. D. (2006). Fluid vulnerability theory: A cognitive approach to understanding the process of acute and chronic suicide risk. https://doi.org/10.1037/11377-016.
- Van Orden, K. A., Cukrowicz, K. C., Witte, T. K., & Joiner, T. E. Jr. (2012). Thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness: Construct validity and psychometric properties of the interpersonal needs questionnaire. Psychological Assessment, 24(1), 197. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0025358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Van Orden, K. A., Witte, T. K., Gordon, K. H., Bender, T. W., & Joiner, T. E. Jr. (2008). Suicidal desire and the capability for suicide: Tests of the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behavior among adults. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76(1), 72. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.76.1.72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar