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Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 369–374 | Cite as

Cognitive Distortions and Suicide Attempts

  • Shari Jager-HymanEmail author
  • Amy Cunningham
  • Amy Wenzel
  • Stephanie Mattei
  • Gregory K. Brown
  • Aaron T. Beck
Brief Report

Abstract

Although theorists have posited that suicidal individuals are more likely than non-suicidal individuals to experience cognitive distortions, little empirical work has examined whether those who recently attempted suicide are more likely to engage in cognitive distortions than those who have not recently attempted suicide. In the present study, 111 participants who attempted suicide in the 30 days prior to participation and 57 psychiatric control participants completed measures of cognitive distortions, depression, and hopelessness. Findings support the hypothesis that individuals who recently attempted suicide are more likely than psychiatric controls to experience cognitive distortions, even when controlling for depression and hopelessness. Fortune telling was the only cognitive distortion uniquely associated with suicide attempt status. However, fortune telling was no longer significantly associated with suicide attempt status when controlling for hopelessness. Findings underscore the importance of directly targeting cognitive distortions when treating individuals at risk for suicide .

Keywords

Suicide attempts Cognitive distortions Fortune telling Hopelessness 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was funded by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Grant 547660 (PI: A. Wenzel) and NIH grant T32 MH083745-03 (PI: A. T. Beck).

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Shari Jager-Hyman, Dr. Amy Cunningham, Dr. Amy Wenzel, Dr. Stephanie Mattei, Dr. Gregory K. Brown, and Dr. Aaron T. Beck declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. The study was approved by the IRB at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to study participation, informed consent was obtained from all patients for inclusion in the study.

Animal Rights

No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shari Jager-Hyman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amy Cunningham
    • 1
  • Amy Wenzel
    • 1
  • Stephanie Mattei
    • 2
  • Gregory K. Brown
    • 1
  • Aaron T. Beck
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Pennsylvania Perelman School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyLa Salle UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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