Year: 2023 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2020), 50(6), 1121-1126. SIEC No: 20230103
Objective According to the Interpersonal Psychological Theory of Suicide, capability for suicide comprises two dimensions: fearlessness about death and elevated pain tolerance. The short (S) allelic variant of the serotonin transporter gene-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) has repeatedly been associated with more violent and lethal suicide methods and lethality of suicide attempts. The current study aimed to investigate whether 5-HTTLPR allelic variants are associated with fearlessness about death and pain tolerance/persistence and whether it moderates the relationship between childhood maltreatment and acquired capability for suicide. Method A cohort of 208 inpatients hospitalized due to a recent suicide attempt or severe suicidal ideation was genotyped for the 5-HTTLPR and assessed for childhood maltreatment. Subjective pain tolerance and fearlessness about death as well as objective pain persistence was assessed using a pressure algometer. Results Fearlessness about death, pain tolerance, and pain persistence did not differ between 5-HTTLPR genotypes. However, there was a significant correlation between self-reported childhood maltreatment and fearlessness about death that emerged exclusively in homozygous S-allele carriers. Conclusion Results suggest that there are no “high-risk”-alleles that generally increase capability for suicide. However, in terms of future suicide-related behaviors exposure to childhood maltreatment events could exert a particularly negative influence on homozygous S-allele carriers by increasing their fearlessness about death.