Examining the relations between hopelessness, thwarted interpersonal needs, and passive suicide ideation among older adults: does meaning in life matter?

Victoria L. Beach, Sarah L. Brown, Kelly C. Cukrowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Older adults are at an elevated risk for passive suicide ideation. The interpersonal theory of suicide and the 3-step theory may provide a framework to better understand factors that contribute to passive suicide ideation among older adults. Specifically, this study aimed to test components of prominent suicide theories and examine the role of meaning in life in the associations between hopelessness, thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness and passive suicide ideation among older adults. Participants were 243 adults aged 60 and older recruited from primary care settings in the southwest United States. We hypothesized that high meaning in life would weaken the associations between hopelessness, thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness and passive suicide ideation. Results from moderation analyses indicate that meaning in life was a significant moderator of the associations between hopelessness and passive suicide ideation, thwarted belongingness and passive suicide ideation, and perceived burdensomeness and passive suicide ideation. These findings suggest that when meaning in life is low there are significant negative associations between hopelessness, thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness and passive suicide ideation among older adults. Implications, limitations, and future directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAging and Mental Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Older adults
  • interpersonal theory of suicide
  • meaning in life
  • passive suicide ideation
  • three-step theory

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