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

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13. Self-Control Over Suicidal Urges: A Real-Time Monitoring Study

A large body of work has examined suicidal thoughts and urges, yet very little research has focused on the ability to resist those urges, which requires self-control. This ability may be dissociable from the strength of the urges themselves. The purpose of the present study was to conduct real-time assessment of suicidal urges, intent, and ability to resist urges using ecological momentary assessment in a sample of 54 adults hospitalized for suicidal ideation or attempt. Using a multivariate vector autoregression model, we found that desire and intent are strongly intercorrelated contemporaneously (controlling for temporal effects; r = .68, p < .001), whereas ability to resist urge is not significantly correlated with either desire or intent. Temporally, desire predicts later intent (B = .116, p = .002), but ability to resist an urge is distinct within a multilevel network and is not predicted by desire or intent, only demonstrating autocorrelation (B = .194, p = .002). Our findings suggest that ability to resist suicidal urges shows dissociable dynamic variation from the intensity of the urges themselves and may be targeted separately.

Rebecca Fortgang
Harvard University

Daniel Coppersmith
Harvard University

Evan Kleiman
Rutgers University

Kate Bentley
Massachusetts General Hospital

Alexander Millner
Harvard University

Jeff Huffman
Massachusetts General Hospital

Matthew Nock
Harvard University

 


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