Empirical extension of the interpersonal theory of suicide: Investigating the role of interpersonal hopelessness
Tucker, R.P., Hagan, C.R., Hill, R.M., Slish, M.L., Bagge, C.L., Joiner, T.E., & Wingate, L.R.
The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide posits that hopelessness about thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness is an important risk factor for the desire for suicide and suicide risk. Past research has indicated that general feelings of hopelessness interact with the constructs of thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness to predict suicide ideation. However, no research has explicitly tested whether hopelessness specific to the interpersonal constructs of thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness predicts suicide ideation and suicide risk. Participants in the current study (N = 173) were undergraduate students oversampled for history of suicide ideation, planning for suicide, and suicide attempt(s). Participants completed study measures online, including a new measure of hopelessness about thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness. Results indicated that a three-way interaction of thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness, and hopelessness about these interpersonal constructs, but not general hopelessness, predicted unique variance of suicide ideation and suicide risk. Results suggest that hopelessness about thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness may be an important target for reducing suicidal desire.