An exploratory analysis of the relations between the rate of physiological habituation, the acquired capability for suicide, and acute risk factors for suicide

Phillip N Smith (Department of Psychology, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL, USA.)
Caitlin Wolford-Clevenger (Department of Psychology, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Knoxville, TN, USA.)
Candice N Selwyn (Department of Psychology, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL, USA.)
Erin Poindexter (Department of Psychology, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA)
William Lechner (Department of Psychology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA.)
DeMond M. Grant (Department of Psychology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA.)
Kelly C Cukrowicz (Department of Psychology, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA)

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research

ISSN: 1759-6599

Publication date: 13 July 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The interpersonal theory of suicide proposes that an individual must acquire the capability for suicide to carry out a near-lethal or lethal suicide attempt. This capability develops via habituation in response to painful and provocative life events. Some individuals might be more vulnerable to developing the capability for suicide because they habituate more quickly to stimuli. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relations between the rate of physiological habituation and acquired capability, proxies for acquired capability, and acute risk factors for suicide.

Design/methodology/approach

Depressed, suicidal individuals completed self-report assessments and a startle reflex task assessing the rate or speed of physiological habituation in response to repeated bursts of white noise.

Findings

Slower habituation was associated with hopelessness and negative stressors. The rate of habituation was not associated with acquired capability.

Originality/value

The current study informs the understanding of how physiological habituation is related to suicide risk factors.

Keywords

Citation

Smith, P.N., Wolford-Clevenger, C., Selwyn, C.N., Poindexter, E., Lechner, W., Grant, D.M. and Cukrowicz, K.C. (2015), "An exploratory analysis of the relations between the rate of physiological habituation, the acquired capability for suicide, and acute risk factors for suicide", Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 139-148. https://doi.org/10.1108/JACPR-07-2014-0130

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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