Future-Oriented Constructs and Their Role in Suicidal Ideation and Enactment

  • Olivia J. KirtleyEmail author
  • Ambrose J. Melson
  • Rory C. O’Connor
Part of the Advances in Mental Health and Addiction book series (AMHA)


Despite the heavy focus upon risk factors for suicide, the presence or absence of protective factors are also instrumental in individuals’ vulnerability for developing suicidal ideation and behaviours. Future oriented constructs, including future thinking, future orientation, hope and optimism have been associated with suicidal ideation and behaviour; individuals who are less able to generate positive thoughts about the future, and those are less hopeful and optimistic are more likely to think about or engage in suicidal behaviours. The content and expectations of future thoughts as achievable also play a key role in their protective capacity. Within this chapter we discuss the relationships between future orientated constructs and suicidal ideation and behaviour, as well as potential mediators of these relationships, within the context of the new generation of ideation-to-action frameworks of suicidal behaviour. We also highlight challenges and opportunities for future research and intervention development for suicidal thoughts and behaviours using future oriented constructs.


Future orientation Future thinking Optimism Hope Time perspective 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olivia J. Kirtley
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ambrose J. Melson
    • 2
  • Rory C. O’Connor
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Contextual Psychiatry, KU Leuven, Department of NeuroscienceCampus Sint-RafaelLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory, Institute of Health and Wellbeing, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life SciencesUniversity of Glasgow, Gartnavel Royal HospitalGlasgowUK

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