Death ideation in older adults: psychological symptoms of depression, thwarted belongingness, and perceived burdensomeness

Evan T. Guidry, Kelly C. Cukrowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Death ideation is commonly reported by older adults in the United States; however, the factors contributing to death ideation in older adults are not fully understood. Depressive symptoms, as well as components of the interpersonal theory of suicide, perceived burden, and thwarted belonging may contribute to death ideation. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the moderating relationship of the psychological symptoms of depression on the relation between perceived burdensomeness and death ideation, and thwarted belongingness and death ideation. Method: A sample of 151 older adults completed questionnaires assessing numerous covariates, as well as perceived burdensomeness, thwarted belongingness, death ideation, and the psychological symptoms of depression. Results: The results of this study indicated that the proposed moderating relationship was supported for the relationship between perceived burdensomeness and death ideation, but was not supported for the relationship between thwarted belongingness and death ideation when covariates (loneliness and hopelessness) were controlled. Conclusion: This suggests that the psychological symptoms of depression are significantly associated with death ideation in older adults experiencing feelings of perceived burdensomeness. Additionally, the findings suggest that loneliness and hopelessness are also important factors to consider when assessing death ideation in older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)823-830
Number of pages8
JournalAging and Mental Health
Volume20
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2 2016

Keywords

  • death ideation
  • depression
  • older adults
  • perceived burdensomeness
  • suicide ideation
  • thwarted belonging

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