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Psychol Rev. 2010 Apr;117(2):575-600. doi: 10.1037/a0018697.

The interpersonal theory of suicide.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA. kimberly_vanorden@urmc.rochester.edu

Abstract

Suicidal behavior is a major problem worldwide and, at the same time, has received relatively little empirical attention. This relative lack of empirical attention may be due in part to a relative absence of theory development regarding suicidal behavior. The current article presents the interpersonal theory of suicidal behavior. We propose that the most dangerous form of suicidal desire is caused by the simultaneous presence of two interpersonal constructs-thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness (and hopelessness about these states)-and further that the capability to engage in suicidal behavior is separate from the desire to engage in suicidal behavior. According to the theory, the capability for suicidal behavior emerges, via habituation and opponent processes, in response to repeated exposure to physically painful and/or fear-inducing experiences. In the current article, the theory's hypotheses are more precisely delineated than in previous presentations (Joiner, 2005), with the aim of inviting scientific inquiry and potential falsification of the theory's hypotheses.

PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved.

PMID:
20438238
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3130348
Free PMC Article

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