Suicide Risk Among BDSM Practitioners: The Role of Acquired Capability for Suicide

Sarah L. Brown, Jared F. Roush, Sean M. Mitchell, Kelly C. Cukrowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadomasochism (BDSM) practitioners are at increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. We hypothesized the association between (a) lifetime frequency of BDSM-related sexual behaviors and (b) BDSM identification and suicide attempt status would be mediated by acquired capability components (i.e., fearlessness about death and pain tolerance). Gender differences were examined. Method: Participants were 576 BDSM practitioners (meanage = 28.71; 66.7% male) recruited from online BDSM-related groups, cross-sectionally. Results: Among males, the total indirect effect of acquired capability components in the relation between BDSM-related sexual behaviors and suicide attempt status was significant. The specific indirect effect of perceived pain tolerance in the relation between both BDSM-related sexual behaviors and BDSM identification and suicide attempt status was significant. There were no significant effects for females. Additionally, 12% reported a suicide attempt history. Conclusion: Among males, BDSM-related sexual behaviors and BDSM identification were associated with increased acquired capability components, which were positively associated with suicide attempt status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1642-1654
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Volume73
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2017

Keywords

  • BDSM
  • acquired capability for suicide
  • fearlessness about death
  • interpersonal theory of suicide
  • suicide

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