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Discomfort Intolerance and the Acquired Capability for Suicide

Abstract

Research has yet to examine the potential relationship between discomfort intolerance and the acquired capability for suicide. However, a link between numerous constructs related to discomfort intolerance (e.g., DT, pain tolerance) and the acquired capability has been established. Although these constructs are similar to the concept of discomfort intolerance, the operational definitions associated with these variables are divergent enough to merit an investigation pertaining to the relationship between discomfort intolerance and acts of lethal self-harm. Specifically, we chose to determine whether low discomfort intolerance would be associated with elevated levels of the acquired capability for suicide. Results were consistent with the our hypothesis, revealing a significant association between discomfort intolerance and the acquired capability above and beyond the effects of sex, self-reported and behaviorally-indexed DT, pain tolerance, and prior exposure to painful and/or provocative experiences. These findings serve to clarify the role of discomfort intolerance in the acquisition of the capability required to engage in acts of lethal self-harm. Furthermore, these results emphasize the importance of enduring aversive physiological sensations in the development of the acquired capability for suicide.

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None of the authors have any conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

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Correspondence to Stephanie M. Pennings.

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Pennings, S.M., Anestis, M.D. Discomfort Intolerance and the Acquired Capability for Suicide. Cogn Ther Res 37, 1269–1275 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-013-9548-x

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Keywords

  • Suicide
  • Discomfort intolerance
  • Acquired capability