Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 457-467

First online:

Perceived Burdensomeness as an Indicator of Suicidal Symptoms

  • Kimberly A. Van OrdenAffiliated withFlorida State University
  • , Meredith E. LynamAffiliated withFlorida State University
  • , Daniel HollarAffiliated withFlorida State University
  • , Thomas E. JoinerJrAffiliated withFlorida State University Email author 

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The Interpersonal-Psychological Theory of Suicidal Behavior proposes precursors to serious suicidality, including the perception that one is a burden on loved ones. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the association of perceived burdensomeness and key suicide-related variables in 343 adult outpatients of the Florida State University Psychology Clinic (187 female; 156 male). Participants completed the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation and the Beck Depression Inventory, as well as items on perceived burdensomeness and hopelessness. Perceived burdensomeness remained a significant predictor of suicidality indicators (i.e., attempt status and BSSI scores) above and beyond the contribution one of the most robust predictors of suicidality, hopelessness. Results suggest that both burdensomeness and hopelessness display predictive power with regards to suicidal behavior and that perceived burdensomeness displayed the signature of a resilient suicide risk factor. Thus, targeting perceived burdensomeness in the assessment of suicidal behavior may aid in treatment and prevention efforts.


Perceived burdensomeness Hopelessness Suicidality