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Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2016 Jun 20. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12267. [Epub ahead of print]

Shame, Guilt, and Suicide Ideation among Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, and Sadomasochism Practitioners: Examining the Role of the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide.

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  • 1Department of Psychological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA.


To date, no study has examined rates of suicide ideation or theory-based risk factors for suicide ideation among bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadomasochism (BDSM) practitioners. Participants were 321 adults that endorsed BDSM involvement. Thirty-seven percent of the sample indicated a nonzero level of suicide ideation. Thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness (PB) were positively associated with suicide ideation and their interactive effect predicted additional variance in suicide ideation after adjusting for depressive symptoms. Overall, shame and guilt were positively associated with suicide ideation and these relations were mediated by thwarted belongingness and PB in parallel adjusting for depressive symptoms; however, there were some differences between demographic subgroups. Among BDSM practitioners, stigma-related internalized feelings (i.e., shame and guilt) may be associated with increased thwarted belongingness and PB, which are associated with suicide ideation.

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