Social and psychological contributions to the co-occurrence of sub-threshold psychotic experiences and suicidal behavior

Jordan E. DeVylder, Danielle R. Jahn, Tracie Doherty, Camille S. Wilson, Holly C. Wilcox, Jason Schiffman, Matthew R. Hilimire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: Psychotic experiences and suicidal behavior commonly co-occur in the general population, which can have implications for suicide prevention approaches. However, little is known about the nature of this relation in non-clinical samples. This cross-sectional study aimed to address a research gap by testing whether the relation between psychotic experiences and suicide-related outcomes (ideation, intent, and attempts) is explained by common social and psychological factors. Methods: Young adult college students (N = 590) were assessed for psychotic experiences, suicidal behavior, and a comprehensive set of 24 potential shared risk factors selected through review of past epidemiological studies and meta-analyses. Nonparametric bootstrapped regression models were used to examine whether these factors attenuated or eliminated the associations between psychotic experiences and suicide-related outcomes. Results: Psychotic experiences were associated with greater risk for suicidal ideation and behaviors. Adjustment for psychosocial factors, particularly those contributing to cumulative stress, accounted for the associations between psychotic experiences and suicide-related outcomes, except broadly defined suicidal ideation. Conclusions: These results suggest that the robust associations between psychotic experiences and suicidal behavior demonstrated in past studies may be primarily explained by shared risk factors, rather than by causal relations. In our sample, suicidal behavior and sub-threshold psychosis appear to be trans diagnostic clinical outcomes that share common causes, notably cumulative stress, but do not cause one another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1819-1830
Number of pages12
JournalSocial psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology
Volume50
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Keywords

  • Attempts
  • Psychosis continuum
  • Risk factors
  • Suicide
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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