Context-specific interpersonal problem-solving and suicidal thoughts and behaviors
Park, Y., McCloskey, M.S., & Ammerman, B.A.
Background: Interpersonal problem-solving difficulties constitute a suicide risk factor that may be particularly relevant among college students. Most studies have examined general interpersonal problem-solving; however, context-specific abilities may have greater clinical implications. Aim: This study examined whether individuals with and without a history of suicidal thoughts and behaviors differed in context-specific interpersonal problem-solving. Method: Undergraduate students (n = 112) completed a brief interview and interpersonal problem-solving tasks with positive (e.g., initiating romantic relationship) and negative (i.e., physical revenge) resolutions. Results: Individuals with a history of suicide ideation generated more effective solutions and more alternatives in the negative-resolution scenario; no significant differences were identified for the positive-resolution scenarios. No group differences were found based on suicide attempt status. Limitations: Our results do not account for the mechanisms that influence problem-solving abilities in negative-resolution scenarios. Conclusion: Clinical efforts may benefit from targeting the translation of interpersonal problem-solving abilities to situations with positive resolutions.