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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.