Little is known about the longitudinal relationship of hopelessness to attempted suicide in psychotic disorders. This study addresses this gap by assessing hopelessness and attempted suicide at multiple time-points over 10 years in a first-admission cohort with psychosis (n = 414). Approximately one in five participants attempted suicide during the 10-year follow-up, and those who attempted suicide scored significantly higher at baseline on the Beck Hopelessness Scale. In general, a given assessment of hopelessness (i.e., baseline, 6, 24, and 48 months) reliably predicted attempted suicide up to 4 to 6 years later, but not beyond. Structural equation modeling indicated that hopelessness prospectively predicted attempted suicide even when controlling for previous attempts. Notably, a cut-point of 3 or greater on the Beck Hopelessness Scale yielded sensitivity and specificity values similar to those found in nonpsychotic populations using a cut-point of 9. Results suggest that hopelessness in individuals with psychotic disorders confers information about suicide risk above and beyond history of attempted suicide. Moreover, in comparison with nonpsychotic populations, even relatively modest levels of hopelessness appear to confer risk for suicide in psychotic disorders.
© 2012 The American Association of Suicidology.