Inflexible interpretations of ambiguous social situations: A novel predictor of suicidal ideation and the beliefs that inspire it

Jonas Everaert, Michael V. Bronstein*, Tyrone D. Cannon, E. David Klonsky, Jutta Joormann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Suicidal ideation has been linked to a bias toward interpreting ambiguous information in consistently less positive or more negative manners (positive/negative interpretation bias), implying that information-processing biases might distort beliefs thought to inspire suicidal ideation (e.g., those regarding burdensomeness). Therefore, in the present study, we examined whether suicidal ideation and beliefs highlighted in theories of suicide are related to positive/negative interpretation bias and/or a bias against revising negative interpretations in response to evidence against them (negative interpretation inflexibility). Data were collected in three waves, each 1 week apart. Network analyses and structural equation models provided evidence that negative interpretation bias (cross-sectionally) and negative interpretation inflexibility (cross-sectionally and over time) were related to suicidal ideation and that the latter relationship was mediated by perceived burdensomeness. By identifying this mediation pathway in the present study, we provide a potential mechanism by which perceptions of burdensomeness, a key risk factor for suicidality, might arise and/or persist.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalClinical Psychological Science
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

Keywords

  • suicidal ideation
  • interpretation bias
  • interpretation inflexibility
  • perceived burdensomeness
  • open data
  • preregistered
  • MOTIVATIONAL-VOLITIONAL MODEL
  • PERCEIVED BURDENSOMENESS
  • COGNITIVE INFLEXIBILITY
  • THWARTED BELONGINGNESS
  • INTERPRETATION BIASES
  • INTERPERSONAL THEORY
  • FIT INDEXES
  • HOPELESSNESS
  • DEPRESSION
  • SCALE

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