Exploring the relationship between suicide vulnerability, impulsivity and executive functioning during COVID-19: A longitudinal analysis
Rogerson, O., Prudenzi, A., & O'Connor, D.B.
Public health emergencies increase the presence and severity of multiple suicide risk factors and thus may increase suicide vulnerability. Understanding how suicide risk factors interact throughout the course of a global pandemic can inform how to help the most vulnerable groups in society. The aims of the research were to explore the associations between, and changes in, suicide vulnerability, COVID-related stress, worry, rumination, executive functioning and impulsivity across the first 6 weeks of the UK COVID-19 lockdown (1st April - 17th May, 2020). 418 adults in the UK completed an online survey at three time points during the first lockdown (Time 1 (1st - 5th April), Time 2 (15th - 19th April), Time 3 (13th - 17th May)). Impulsivity and executive functioning remained stable across the first six weeks of UK lockdown. COVID-related stress, worry, and rumination decreased throughout the 6 weeks. Suicide vulnerability was associated with greater impulsivity and poorer executive functioning. Sub-group analysis revealed individuals vulnerable to suicide reported worse COVID-related stress, poorer executive function and greater impulsivity than individuals who reported no suicide vulnerability. Individuals vulnerable to suicide appear to have experienced poorer executive functioning, greater impulsivity and COVID-related stress in the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.