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Given suicide risk is dynamic, research needs to identify the factors responsible for these changes. This can be achieved through experimentally manipulating putative causal risk factors. Two studies experimentally manipulated a change in interpersonal risk factors (thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness) to assess the influence on participants’ desire to escape. Study 1 (N = 74) found manipulating simultaneous changes in burdensomeness and belongingness rapidly changed participants’ desire to escape. In Study 2 (N = 54), a change in only thwarted belongingness was still effective in quickly changing participants’ desire to escape from the task, even in the presence of heightened feelings of burdensomeness. The findings speak to the causal role that changes in the levels of interpersonal risk factors may play in influencing a desire to escape from adverse life circumstances.
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