Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. Thus, it can rightfully be viewed as a public health problem. Unfortunately, the prevention of suicide has proven to be a difficult task, which is likely due to the fact that much remains unknown. Joiner's (in press) interpersonal-psychological theory of attempted and completed suicide proposes that there are three factors that are both necessary and sufficient for an individual to have the desire and ability to complete suicide: perceived burdensomeness, thwarted belongingness, and the acquired ability to engage in acts of self harm. The proposed project will test portions of the third factor of the theory (i.e., the acquired ability to engage in acts of self harm) by conducting three studies. The first study will explore factors (i.e., previous experience with painful stimuli) that differentiate those who complete suicide from those who attempt suicide. The second study will examine how impulsivity relates to pain tolerance, a factor posited to contribute to the ability to engage in lethal suicidal behavior. The third study will investigate gender differences in mood lability and how these differences facilitate exposure to painful stimuli, thereby conferring additional risk for suicide. ? ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-F12B-L (20))
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Rubio, Mercedes
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Florida State University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
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Witte, Tracy K; Gordon, Kathryn H; Smith, Phillip N et al. (2012) Stoicism and Sensation Seeking: Male Vulnerabilities for the Acquired Capability for Suicide. J Res Pers 46:384-392
Van Orden, Kimberly A; Witte, Tracy K; Cukrowicz, Kelly C et al. (2010) The interpersonal theory of suicide. Psychol Rev 117:575-600
Gordon, Kathryn H; Selby, Edward A; Anestis, Michael D et al. (2010) The reinforcing properties of repeated deliberate self-harm. Arch Suicide Res 14:329-41
Witte, Tracy K; Gould, Madelyn S; Munfakh, Jimmie Lou Harris et al. (2010) Assessing suicide risk among callers to crisis hotlines: a confirmatory factor analysis. J Clin Psychol 66:941-64
Witte, Tracy K; Smith, April R; Joiner Jr, Thomas E (2010) Reason for cautious optimism? Two studies suggesting reduced stigma against suicide. J Clin Psychol 66:611-26
Joiner Jr, Thomas E; Van Orden, Kimberly A; Witte, Tracy K et al. (2009) Main predictions of the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behavior: empirical tests in two samples of young adults. J Abnorm Psychol 118:634-46
Witte, Tracy K; Timmons, Katherine A; Fink, Erin et al. (2009) Do major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder confer differential risk for suicide? J Affect Disord 115:69-78
Witte, Tracy K; Gordon, Kathryn H; Joiner Jr, Thomas E (2009) The Six-Point Dial of Treatment: A Useful Framework for Novice Therapists. Clin Case Stud 8:226-240
Witte, Tracy K; Merrill, Katherine A; Stellrecht, Nadia E et al. (2008) ""Impulsive"" youth suicide attempters are not necessarily all that impulsive. J Affect Disord 107:107-16
Holm-Denoma, Jill M; Witte, Tracy K; Gordon, Kathryn H et al. (2008) Deaths by suicide among individuals with anorexia as arbiters between competing explanations of the anorexia-suicide link. J Affect Disord 107:231-6

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