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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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81. Cognitive Control Differentiates Hospitalized Adolescent Ideators and Attempters

Suicide is a serious public health concern and recent evidence shows that, relative to psychiatric controls, adult suicide attempters have deficits in cognitive control—the ability to adapt attention and behaviour to facilitate goals. Presently, however, little is known about cognitive control deficits among adolescents reporting suicide ideation alone versus a history of attempts. To address this gap, we enrolled suicide ideators (n=111) and attempters (n=45) 12 to 19 years old. Participants were administered clinical interviews characterizing mental disorders and suicide history, and they completed a flanker task wherein they indicated the direction of a central arrow while ignoring flanking arrows. On error, but not correct (p=.061, ηp2=.03), trials, we found a Group x Trial Type interaction, F(1,132)=6.22, p=.014, ηp2=.05. Ideators had faster responses on incongruent (arrows pointing the same direction) versus congruent (central arrow pointing the opposite direction) trials, p<.001, ηp2=.18, while attempters showed no differences, p=.921, ηp2=.001. We plan to use Hierarchical Drift-Diffusion Modeling to generate parameters representing distinct cognitive processes—prepotent response bias, response inhibition, and executive function—which will produce more fine-grained insight into how these processes affect adolescent suicide risk. Findings will be discussed in the context of ideation-to-action suicide theories and implications for prevention.

Natalia Drobotenko
Queen's University

Hannah Allchurch
Columbia University

Elizabeth Cosby
McLean Hospital

Laura Germine
McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Randy Auerbach
Columbia University

Jeremy Stewart
Queen's University


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