Perceived Burdensomeness and Suicide Ideation in Older Adults

Department of Psychology, Mail Stop 42051, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409-2051, USA.
Psychology and Aging (Impact Factor: 2.73). 03/2011; 26(2):331-8. DOI: 10.1037/a0021836
Source: PubMed


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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    • "The sample comprised 91 participants, aged 60 years or older, recruited from primary care clinics (see Cukrowicz et al., 2011, Study 2 for additional detail). The sample was primarily Caucasian (93%; 1% African American, 6% Hispanic), female (75%), and married or living with a partner (64%). "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives The interpersonal theory of suicide posits that perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness are risk factors for suicide ideation. To more comprehensively characterize this model, it is important to identify resilience factors. Forgiveness of oneself may attenuate the relation between perceived burdensomeness and suicide ideation. Similarly, hope might weaken the association between thwarted belongingness and suicide ideation.Method We examined these relations cross-sectionally in a sample (N = 91) of older adults after including symptoms of depression and demographic variables in the models.ResultsSelf-forgiveness moderated the relation between perceived burdensomeness and suicide ideation. Hope did not moderate the relation between thwarted belongingness and suicide ideation.Conclusions These findings suggest that including resilience factors (i.e., self-forgiveness) in models of suicide ideation may result in better identification of those most at risk for suicide and may allow for more precise intervention targets.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Clinical Psychology
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    • "The acquired capability for lethal self-injury is hypothesised to develop through exposure and thus habituation to painful and/or fearsome experiences, and is posited by the theory to be necessary to overcome powerful internal self-preservation pressures (Joiner et al., 2009) (see Fig. 1). The predictions of the Interpersonal- Psychological Theory have been tested in an adult sample (Joiner et al., 2009), and by several other population-based and clinical research studies (Van Orden et al., 2008; Cukrowicz et al., 2011; You et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: The Interpersonal-Psychological Theory of Suicide (IPTS) has been supported by recent research. However, the nature of the models׳ three major constructs - perceived burdensomeness, thwarted belongingness and acquired capability - requires further investigation. In this paper, we test a number of hypotheses about the predictors and correlates of the IPTS constructs. Participants aged 32-38 from an Australian population-based longitudinal cohort study (n=1167) were assessed. IPTS constructs were measured by items from the Interpersonal Needs Questionnaire (INQ) and Acquired Capability for Suicide Scale (ACSS), alongside demographic and additional measures, measured concurrently or approximately 8 years earlier. Cross-sectional analyses evaluating the IPTS supported earlier work. Mental health was significantly related to all three IPTS constructs, but depression and anxiety caseness were associated only with perceived burdensomeness. Various social support measures were differentially associated with the three constructs. Stressful events and lifetime traumas had robust independent associations with acquired capability for suicide only. The IPTS model provides a useful framework for conceptualising suicide risk. The findings highlight the importance of perceived social support in suicide risk, identify the importance of personality and other factors as new avenues of research, and provide some validation for the independence of the constructs.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Psychiatry Research
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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 [34]. 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. "
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · Journal of psychosomatic research
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