Suicide rates are elevated in individuals with chronic illness, yet few studies have examined risk factors for suicide in this population. Drawing from theoretical models and risk factors identified in the suicide literature more broadly, this article provides a conceptual overview of cognitive (e.g., pain catastrophizing, self-criticism), affective (e.g., emotion dysregulation), interpersonal (e.g., perceived burdensomeness, thwarted belongingness, critical expressed emotion), and behavioral factors that may contribute, at least in part, to the link between chronic illness, and illness-specific factors, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. We also outline several avenues for future research in this area and provide specific considerations and recommendations for the screening, assessment, and initial intervention of suicide risk within individuals with chronic health conditions.
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This work was in part supported by the Military Suicide Research Consortium (MSRC), an effort supported by the Department of Defense (W81XWH-16-20003). Opinions, interpretations, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Military Suicide Research Consortium or the Department of Defense. Golan Shahar was supported by a grant from the Israeli Science Foundation on suicidality in chronic physical pain (Grant No. 751/08).
Conflict of interest
Megan L. Rogers, Thomas E. Joiner, and Golan Shahar declare that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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Rogers, M.L., Joiner, T.E. & Shahar, G. Suicidality in Chronic Illness: An Overview of Cognitive–Affective and Interpersonal Factors. J Clin Psychol Med Settings 28, 137–148 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10880-020-09749-x
- Chronic illness