Suicide-Specific Cognitions, Attentional Fixation, and Worst-Point Suicidal Ideation

Emma H. Moscardini, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.
Alix B. Aboussouan, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.
Craig J. Bryan, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
Raymond P. Tucker, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.


OBJECTIVE: The fluid vulnerability theory of suicide posits that each person has a baseline risk for suicide, which is comprised of both stable and dynamic factors. The current study investigated the unique involvement of suicide-specific cognitions and attentional fixation on recent suicidal ideation (SI) and SI at its worst. METHOD: Data were analyzed from a sample of N = 126 undergraduate students with a history of SI. Path analyses were used to analyze the relationship between suicide-specific cognitions, attentional fixation, and SI (current and worst point). RESULTS: Results revealed that suicide-specific cognitions were directly related to both recent SI and worst-point SI. Suicide-specific cognitions had a significant, indirect effect with worst-point SI through attentional fixation, but this effect was not significant when using recent SI. CONCLUSION: These data support the need for interventions to target cognitive contents and contexts (e.g., fixation) to reduce escalation of SI. Future work would benefit from replicating and extending results in studies that include prospective designs and the assessment of suicidal behaviors.