JOURNAL ARTICLE

Naturalistic evaluation of suicidal ideation: variability and relation to attempt status

Tracy K Witte, Kathleen K Fitzpatrick, Keith L Warren, Christopher Schatschneider, Norman B Schmidt
Behaviour Research and Therapy 2006, 44 (7): 1029-40
16188225
Suicidal ideation has been thought to have a relatively stable course across weeks and months. However, daily changes in levels of ideation have not been adequately examined despite the importance of potential variability clinically and conceptually. For example, it has been suggested that variability in suicidal ideation may become less closely tied to variability in other mood symptoms (e.g., depression, hopelessness) among individuals with multiple suicide attempts. The present report had two related goals: (1) to prospectively evaluate suicidal ideation and related mood symptoms, and (2) to determine whether suicide attempt status predicted a decreased association between ideation and other mood symptoms. Non-clinical participants (N=108) with varying levels of suicidal ideation and number of previous suicide attempts completed the beck hopelessness scale (BHS), beck depression inventory (BDI), and suicide probability scale (SPS) every day for 4 weeks. Findings suggested considerable variability in suicidal ideation, especially for multiple attempters. Multiple attempt status predicted a decreased association between suicidal ideation and depression, although the results were only marginally significant. These findings have implications for conceptual models of suicide risk as well as assessment and treatment of suicidal individuals.

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