The interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behavior: Current status and future directions

Florida State University, Florida 32306-4301, USA.
Journal of Clinical Psychology (Impact Factor: 2.12). 12/2009; 65(12):1291-9. DOI: 10.1002/jclp.20621
Source: PubMed


The interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behavior (Joiner, 2005) holds that an individual will die by suicide if he or she has both the desire for suicide and capability to act on that desire. According to the theory, suicidal desire results from the convergence of two interpersonal states: perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness. However, desire alone is not sufficient to result in death by suicide--a third component must be present: the acquired capability for suicide, which develops from repeated exposure and habituation to painful and provocative events. The purpose of this article is to discuss four viable and timely directions for future research, given the current status of the theory.

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    • "The second mechanism central to the IPT is thwarted belongingness , explained as alienation from friends and family—not feeling like a part of a community (Joiner et al., 2009; Ribeiro & Joiner, 2009). Social isolation seems to be one of the largest contributions to suicidal risk (Roberts, Roberts, & Chen, 1998). "
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    ABSTRACT: The experience of minority stress is often named as a cause for mental health disparities among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth, including higher levels of depression and suicidal ideation. The processes or mechanisms through which these disparities occur are understudied. The interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide posits 2 key mechanisms for suicidal ideation: perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness (Joiner et al., 2009). The aim of the current study is to assess the mental health and adjustment among LGB youth emphasizing the minority stress model (Meyer, 2003) and the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide (Joiner et al., 2009). With a survey of 876 LGB self-identified youth, levels of coming-out stress, sexual orientation victimization, perceived burdensomeness, thwarted belongingness, depression, and suicidal ideation were examined. The results of a multigroup mediation model show that for all gender and sexual identity groups, the association of sexual orientation victimization with depression and suicidal ideation was mediated by perceived burdensomeness. For gay, lesbian, and bisexual girls coming-out stress was also found to be related to depression and suicidal ideation, mediated by perceived burdensomeness. The results suggest that feeling like a burden to "people in their lives" is a critical mechanism in explaining higher levels of depression and suicidal ideation among LGB youth. These results have implications for community and social support groups, many of which base their interventions on decreasing social isolation rather than addressing youths' beliefs of burdensomeness. Implications for future research, clinical and community settings are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
    Developmental Psychology 03/2015; 51(5). DOI:10.1037/a0038994 · 3.21 Impact Factor
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    • "Indeed, while the severity of functional impairment in mood disorders such as MDD (which might have a more shortterm effect on suicide risk) may contribute significantly to increased suicide risk, the chronic nature of severe borderline pathology poses particular risk due to the cumulative impact of poor social adjustment (Soloff and Fabio, 2008). Specific components of poor social adjustment that have been linked to suicide risk include social pain (Eisenberger and Lieberman, 2004), low belonging and social alienation , and perceived burdensomeness (Ribeiro and Joiner, 2009). For mood-disordered patients with comorbid personality pathology, treatment that addresses or involves their social support systems might be particularly helpful. "
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    ABSTRACT: Suicidal behavior often accompanies both borderline personality disorder (BPD) and severe mood disorders, and comorbidity between the two appears to further increase suicide risk. The current study aims to quantify the risk of suicidality conferred by comorbid BPD diagnosis or features in three affective disorders: major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar disorder (BP) and schizoaffective disorder. One hundred forty-nine (149) psychiatric inpatients were assessed by SCID I and II, and the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale. Logistic regression analyses investigated the associations between previous suicide attempt and BPD diagnosis or features in patients with MDD, BP, and schizoaffective disorder, as well as a history of manic or major depressive episodes, and psychotic symptoms. Comorbid BPD diagnosis significantly increased suicide risk in the whole sample, and in those with MDD, BP, and history of depressive episode or psychotic symptoms. Each additional borderline feature also increased risk of past suicide attempt in these same groups (excepting BP) and in those with a previous manic episode. Of the BPD criteria, only unstable relationships and impulsivity independently predicted past suicide attempt. Overall, among patients with severe mood disorders, the presence of comorbid BPD features or disorder appears to substantially increase the risk of suicide attempts.
    Psychiatry Research 01/2015; 226(1). DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2015.01.020 · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    • "First, negative cognitive style is believed to be a relatively stable, distal factor whose development occurs during adolescence and persists in to adulthood [18]). Conversely, the IPTS variables are explicitly described as proximal variables [19] that are posited to develop very close to the time that suicidal ideation develops. Second, although studies find that the IPTS variables predict variance above and beyond other risk variables [20], such findings may also indicate that the IPTS variables are more proximal predictors than other variables. "
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    ABSTRACT: Given that suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide, there has been considerable research on theories of suicide risk. Despite the volume of such research, each theory is largely investigated in isolation and there has been little attempt to integrate them. Thus, the goal of the present study is to integrate two theories of suicide risk, Alloy and Abramson's hopelessness theory of suicide (HT) and Joiner's interpersonal psychological theory of suicide (IPTS), into one mediational model where the effects of the risk associated with the HT variables (i.e., a negative cognitive style) on suicidal ideation are transmitted by the IPTS (i.e., perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belonging) variables. Participants were 245 young adults with elevated levels of depressive symptoms who completed self-report measures of suicide risk at baseline and a measure of suicidal ideation eight weeks later. The results of a mediated model supported our hypothesis. The effects of the HT variables on suicidal ideation were mediated by the IPTS variables. Furthermore, results did not support the reverse model, suggesting specificity of the direction of our hypotheses. These findings imply that there may be merit in attempting to integrate theories of suicide risk rather than studying them in isolation.
    Comprehensive psychiatry 11/2013; 55(3). DOI:10.1016/j.comppsych.2013.10.015 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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