Examining the role of stigma and disability-related factors in suicide risk through the lens of the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide

J Psychiatr Res. 2021 May;137:652-656. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2020.11.007. Epub 2020 Nov 4.


Research has largely not identified processes contributing to the relationship between physical disability and suicide risk. This cross-sectional research is aimed at examining the associations among felt stigma, perceived burdensomeness, disability severity, and perceptions about future suicidal ideation and attempts. Adults (N = 127) with physical disabilities recruited through online and printed advertisements completed self-report measures and semi-structured interviews. We anticipated that felt stigma would be associated with individuals' perceived likelihood of future suicidal ideation and attempts indirectly through perceived burdensomeness, and that these relationships would be moderated by the impact of disability on three important life domains. Results from a series of moderated mediation analyses partially supported study hypotheses and indicated indirect relationships of stigma to suicide-related perceptions. However, disability severity in the three examined domains did not moderate these indirect relationships. Felt stigma and perceived burdensomeness may contribute to self-perceptions of suicide risk among individuals with physical disabilities.

Keywords: Interpersonal Theory of Suicide; Physical disabiltiy; Stigma; Suicide.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Psychological Theory
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Concept
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Suicide*
  • Suicide, Attempted*