Examining patterns of change in the acquired capability for suicide among eating disorder patients
Velkoff, E.A. & Smith, A.R.
Several models of suicidal behavior posit that, to transition from suicidal ideation to attempting suicide, individuals must have an acquired capability for suicide (ACS), comprised of fearlessness about death (FAD) and pain tolerance. ACS is hypothesized to increase monotonically through exposure to painful and provocative experiences. However, recent research suggests that ACS can decrease, bringing into question the hypothesis of monotonic increase. This study examined the nature of change in ACS over time within a sample of patients with eating disorder (ED). We predicted that there would be two classes of change in ACS: one high and increasing and one moderate and stable.
One hundred female patients with ED reported on ACS at admission and weekly during treatment.
Growth mixture modeling to test models of FAD and pain tolerance identified that, for both factors, a one‐class intercept‐only model was the best‐fitting model, suggesting that patients entered treatment with midlevel ACS and experienced no significant linear change over the course of treatment.
Acquired capability for suicide demonstrated stability in this study; results highlight the need for additional research examining ACS across different timescales and in varied populations.