Assessing interpersonal and mood factors to predict trajectories of suicidal ideation within an inpatient setting

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Background: A limited amount of research has assessed how suicide risk changes over time, and how changes can be predicted. The current study assessed suicidal ideation and risk factors throughout inpatient visits to a psychiatric facility to refine prediction of suicide risk. Method: In total, 491 patients (73% Female; mean age = 39.21) at a psychiatric inpatient facility self-reported the frequency of their suicidal thoughts, perceived burdensomeness, thwarted belongingness, hopelessness, depression, and anxiety in the prior 24 h on a daily basis. Levels of suicidal ideation and risk factors at each quarter of an inpatient's stay were identified, and latent class growth analysis used to identify common patterns of change over time. Results: Changes in mood and interpersonal factors were associated with changes in suicidal ideation over days and weeks. Further, they contributed to the prediction of future levels of suicidal ideation. Thwarted belongingness at admission predicted whether patients had pervasively high suicidal thoughts over the course of inpatient visits or showed marked improvements, while perceived burdensomeness predicted which patients would develop suicidal thoughts during their visit. Limitations: The use of single item measures may limit specificity of measurement of suicide risk factors. Hourly, rather than daily measurement used in the current study, may more accurately identify suicide risk. Conclusions: Change in suicidal ideation is associated with changes in a number of psychological risk factors. Regular assessment of interpersonal risk factors may identify warning signs and aid clinical interventions in reducing suicidal thoughts and associated self-injurious behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-324
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


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