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An Examination of Optimism/Pessimism and Suicide Risk in Primary Care Patients: Does Belief in a Changeable Future Make a Difference?

Abstract

An integrative model involving optimism/pessimism and future orientation as predictors of suicide risk (viz., depressive symptoms and suicidal behavior) was tested in a sample of adult, primary care patients. Beyond the additive influence of the two predictors of suicide risk, optimism/pessimism and future orientation were also hypothesized to interact together to exacerbate suicide risk. Results indicated that optimism/pessimism was a robust predictor of suicide risk in adults. Future orientation was found to add significant incremental validity to the prediction of depressive symptoms, but not of suicidal behavior. Noteworthy, the optimism/pessimism × future orientation interaction was found to significantly augment the prediction of both depressive symptoms and suicidal behavior. Implications for therapeutic enhancement of future-oriented constructs in the treatment of suicidal individuals are discussed.

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Acknowledgments

The first author would like to acknowledge Chang Suk-Choon and Tae Myung-Sook for their encouragement and support throughout this project.

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Correspondence to Edward C. Chang.

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Chang, E.C., Yu, E.A., Lee, J.Y. et al. An Examination of Optimism/Pessimism and Suicide Risk in Primary Care Patients: Does Belief in a Changeable Future Make a Difference?. Cogn Ther Res 37, 796–804 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-012-9505-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-012-9505-0

Keywords

  • Optimism/pessimism
  • Future orientation
  • Adults
  • Primary care
  • Suicide risk