The Relation of Self-Hatred and Suicidality in People With Schizophrenia-Spectrum Symptoms

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Abstract

It is well known that depressive symptoms represent a risk for suicidality in general. It is less clear, however, that general depressive symptoms comprise a definite suicide risk factor for people with schizophrenia. Based on this, as well as on the early writings of E. Bleuler (1911/1987), it was hypothesized that there may be a particular aspect of depressive symptoms that combines with schizophrenia to encourage suicidality. Specifically, schizophrenia may impart to self-concept a quality of self-hatred that encourages suicidality in schizophrenic people. If so, then an index of self-hatred should be more correlated with suicidality among people with schizophrenia-spectrum symptoms than among people with fewer such symptoms. Two studies evaluated this possibility. In Study 1 on 243 suicidal outpatients affiliated with the military, self-hate and suicidality were more correlated among people with schizotypal symptoms than among other patients. In Study 2 on 113 VA psychiatric inpatients, self-hate and suicidality were more correlated among people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia than among patients with a diagnosis of major depression. Study limitations were noted, and it was suggested that self-hatred be a focus of suicide risk assessment in schizophrenic people.