Year: 2023 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2023). 23, 1-13. DOI: 10.1111/sltb.12996 SIEC No: 20231956
Introduction: Social anxiety is associated with elevated suicidal ideation (SI). One potential explanation is that socially anxious persons experience frequent interpersonal stressors that elicit SI. Longitudinal designs with temporal ordering are needed to adequately test this hypothesis. Therefore, this study leveraged a longitudinal design combining trait and daily reports. Methods: Two hundred eleven community adult participants with elevated levels of depression and/or social anxiety completed social anxiety and SI measures at baseline and again at a 1.5-month follow-up. Between these assessments, participants completed a 14-day diary study that assessed three forms of interpersonal distress: unfavorable social comparisons, perceived barriers to seeking social support, and loneliness. Results: As predicted, simple mediation models revealed that baseline social anxiety had a significant indirect effect on SI severity at 1.5 months postbaseline via unfavorable social comparisons (indirect effect: β = 0.07, p < 0.05) and barriers to seeking support (indirect effect: β = 0.08, p < 0.05); however, social anxiety did not have a significant indirect effect on SI severity through loneliness. Conclusion: Study results are consistent with the proposition that increases in interpersonal distress may explain socially anxious persons' vulnerability to SI. Implications of these findings for the research, assessment, and treatment of suicidality in social anxiety are discussed.