Testing Shneidman’s Theory of Suicide: Psychache as a Prospective Predictor of Suicidality and Comparison With Hopelessness
Two studies are presented in this thesis that test Shneidman’s theory, & compare the influence of psychache on suicidality relative to that of hopelessness. In the first study, a causal hypothesis was examined using a longitudinal design. 558 undergraduates completed measures of psychache, hopelessness, & suicide ideation at 2 time points 4 months apart. Results supported the hypothesis that psychache has a causal role in suicidality. In a second study, the hypotheses that psychache is necessary & sufficient for suicide were examined in a sample of undergraduates prescreened for high & low levels of psychache & hopelessness. Those who met cutoff criteria were divided into 4 groups. The pattern of group differences that was found supported the hypothesis that psychache is necessary for suicide but the claim that psychache is sufficient was not consistently supported.
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