Clarifying the Relationship of Dissociative Experiences to Suicide Ideation and Attempts: A Multimethod Examination in Two Samples.

Behavior Therapy
Mikayla C PachkowskiE David Klonsky


Fears of pain, injury, and death may represent key barriers to acting on suicidal thoughts. Dissociation, which involves a disconnection from one's body, may reduce fears and sensations of pain associated with harming the body, in turn facilitating suicide attempts. This study examined whether dissociation differentiated individuals with a history of suicide attempts from those with a history of suicide ideation, and investigated whether other relevant constructs explain this relationship. Sample 1 included 754 undergraduates (Mage = 21, 79% female) who completed a battery of self-report measures. Sample 2 included 247 undergraduates (Mage = 19, 74% female) who completed a self-report measure of dissociation, a clinical interview regarding suicide history, and four counterbalanced behavioral pain tolerance tasks. In both samples, dissociation was elevated in lifetime attempters compared to ideators (d = 0.28; d = 0.46; ps = 0.01) and slightly elevated in lifetime ideators compared to nonsuicidal individuals (d = 0.19, p = .02; d = 0.24, p = .47), though this effect was non-significant in the latter sample. In Sample 1, dissociation no longer differentiated attempters from ideators after controlling for clinical covariates. In S...Continue Reading


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