Interpersonal beliefs related to suicide and facial emotion processing in psychotic disorders

J Psychiatr Res. 2018 May;100:107-112. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2018.02.016. Epub 2018 Feb 26.


Deficits in social cognition are present in psychotic disorders; moreover, maladaptive interpersonal beliefs have been posited to underlie risk of suicidal ideation and behavior. However, the association between social cognition and negative appraisals as potential risk factors for suicidal ideation and behavior in psychotic disorders has not been assessed. In a pilot study, we assessed accuracy and error biases in facial emotion recognition (Penn ER-40), maladaptive interpersonal beliefs as measured by the Interpersonal Needs Questionnaire (INQ), and current suicide ideation and history of past attempts in a sample of 101 outpatients with psychotic disorders (75 schizophrenia/schizoaffective; 26 bipolar disorder). INQ scores were positively associated with history of suicide attempts and current ideation. INQ scores were inversely related with emotion recognition accuracy yet positively correlated with bias toward perceiving anger in neutral expressions. The association between biases pertaining to anger and INQ scores persisted after adjusting for global cognitive ability and were more evident in schizophrenia than in bipolar disorder. The present findings suggest that maladaptive beliefs are associated with a tendency to misperceive neutral stimuli as threatening and are associated with suicidal ideation and behavior. Although better cognitive ability is associated with higher rates of suicide attempts in psychotic disorders, biases in misinterpreting anger in others may be a specific deficit related to formation of maladaptive beliefs about others, which, in turn, are associated with history of suicide attempts.

Keywords: Facial emotion recognition; Negative appraisals; Psychotic disorders; Social cognition; Suicide.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bipolar Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Facial Expression*
  • Facial Recognition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychotic Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Social Perception*
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Suicide, Attempted*
  • Young Adult