Perceived Burdensomeness and Suicide Ideation in Older Adults
ABSTRACT Older adults have the highest risk of death by suicide in the United States. Improving our understanding of the factors that lead to increased risk of suicide in older adults will greatly inform our ability to prevent suicide in this high-risk group. Two studies were conducted to test the effect of perceived burdensomeness, a component of the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide (Joiner, 2005), on suicide ideation in older adults. Further, gender was examined as a moderator of this association to determine if perceived burdensomeness exerted a greater influence on suicide ideation in males. The results of these studies suggest that perceived burdensomeness accounts for significant variance in suicide ideation, even after predictors such as depressive symptoms, hopelessness, and functional impairment are controlled. Gender did not moderate the association. The implications of these findings for treatment of older adults with suicide ideation and elevated suicide risk are discussed.
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- "We are unsure as to why the elevation in risk was restricted to adults aged below 60 years of age. 'Perceived burdensomeness' has been proposed as an important contributing factor for suicidal behaviour among older age people in general . Although we found no evidence of higher risk of self-harm in elderly men or women diagnosed with the assessed physical illnesses, it may be that the same mechanism impacts strongly among people who experience major physical disorders and associated disability at a premature age. "
ABSTRACT: To examine self-harm risk across the adult age range in patients diagnosed with various physical illnesses using the General Practice Research Database - a broadly representative sample of all people registered with a family practice in the United Kingdom. We conducted a large nested case-control study sampled from the whole primary care cohort. During 2001-2008 we studied 2306 cases of self-harm and 46,120 age and gender-matched controls without such an episode recorded. Relative risks were estimated against reference patients with none of the examined physical illnesses. Additionally, we assessed confounding by recorded depression, effect modification by gender and multi-morbidity effects. Risk was significantly elevated in relation to any of the physical illnesses (male OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.18-1.54; female OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.40-1.86). For both genders combined, risk was raised with each specific illness. Effects sizes were consistently larger in women. Adjustment for recorded depression explained much of the elevated risk, but not so in women with asthma, back pain, diabetes, epilepsy or hypertension. Raised risk was seen in younger adults and during middle age, but not among older people. There was a dose-response relationship with increasing number of physical illnesses, and in women this was independent of depression. Heightened risk was seen with a variety of physical illnesses. The findings indicate a need for tackling psychological distress and reducing self-harm risk in physically ill patients who attend primary healthcare services for non-psychiatric reasons, particularly so for women and younger and middle aged adults.Journal of psychosomatic research 08/2012; 73(2):92-7. DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2012.05.010 · 2.84 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine the relation between functional impairment, self-rated health, and depressive symptoms. Independently, self-rated health and functional impairment each contribute to depressive symptoms; however, it remains unknown how these variables are related to depression in combination. It was hypothesized that self-rated health would moderate the relation between functional impairment and depressive symptoms in a sample of older adults. A community sample of adults aged 60 and above was recruited from primary care clinics (n = 106); 98 of these participants had usable data. Participants completed self-report questionnaires that assessed depressive symptoms, functional impairment, and self-rated physical health. Self-rated health moderated the relation between functional impairment and depressive symptoms. For participants with poor self-rated health, greater functional impairment was associated with greater depressive symptoms. It appears that patient perceptions of health may be protective against depressive symptoms for those with functional impairment.Aging and Mental Health 07/2011; 16(3):281-7. DOI:10.1080/13607863.2011.598847 · 1.75 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Suicide in later life is a global public health problem. The aim of this review was to conduct a systematic analysis of studies with comparison groups that examined the associations between social factors and suicidal behavior (including ideation, non-fatal suicidal behavior, or deaths) among individuals aged 65 and older. Our search identified only 16 articles (across 14 independent samples) that met inclusion criteria. The limited number of studies points to the need for further research. Included studies were conducted in Canada (n = 2), Germany (n = 1), Hong Kong (n = 1), Japan (n = 1), Singapore (n = 1), Sweden (n = 2), Taiwan (n = 1), the U.K. (n = 2), and the U.S. (n = 3). The majority of the social factors examined in this review can be conceptualized as indices of positive social connectedness-the degree of positive involvement with family, friends, and social groups. Findings indicated that at least in industrialized countries, limited social connectedness is associated with suicidal ideation, non-fatal suicidal behavior, and suicide in later life. Primary prevention programs designed to enhance social connections as well as a sense of community could potentially decrease suicide risk, especially among men.International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 03/2012; 9(3):722-45. DOI:10.3390/ijerph9030722 · 2.06 Impact Factor