Year: 2020 Source: Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior. (2019). 49(6), 1541-1551. SIEC No: 20200126

Of the three factors posited by Joiner’s interpersonal theory of suicide as necessary before suicide can occur, increased hope has been shown to reduce two (thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness), but, counterintuitively, to increase the 3rd (acquired capability for suicide). A fuller understanding of this phenomenon may lie with Bernardo’s locus‐of‐hope construct—pursuant to which hope may lie not only in one’s own plans and capabilities (internal locus‐of‐hope) but in those of others (external locus‐of‐hope)—but to date no study has researched the relationship between external locus‐of‐hope and acquired capability for suicide.
Data from a sample recruited online (N = 193; 88.6% aged 21–49; 59.1% men; 80.3% White) were analyzed using a 3‐step hierarchical regression procedure designed to isolate the effects of external locus‐of‐hope on acquired capability for suicide by holding constant the effects of depression, demographic variables, and internal locus‐of‐hope.
Results confirmed that internal locus‐of‐hope positively predicts acquired capability for suicide and demonstrated that external locus‐of‐hope has the opposite effect: It is associated with lowered acquired capability for suicide.
It follows that interventions designed to raise one’s level of externally located hope have the potential to deter suicidal individuals from actualizing their plans.