Examining the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide in an inpatient veteran sample

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2013 Aug;43(4):418-28. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12027. Epub 2013 Apr 5.


Suicide among veterans is a pressing public health concern. The interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide proposes that perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness lead to suicidal desire, whereas the acquired capability for suicide leads to suicide attempt in the presence of suicidal desire (Joiner, 2005). Two hypotheses derived from the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide were tested in 185 veterans (96 women) entering inpatient psychiatric treatment. Burdensomeness and its interaction with belongingness significantly predicted current suicidal ideation. The three-way interaction between burdensomeness, belongingness, and acquired capability did not significantly predict number of past suicide attempts. Clinical implications and directions for future research are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / psychology
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Psychological Theory*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology
  • Veterans / psychology*