I am currently working in Dr. Daniel Capron’s Anxiety and Trauma Research Lab at the University of Southern Mississippi with the purpose of studying how cognitive biases relate to suicide risk and how novel techniques, such as nudging can be used to mitigate suicide risk.
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MA in Clinical Psychology, In Progress
University of Southern Mississippi
BS in Psychology, 2017
Kent State University
Background: Studies of risk factors for suicidal behavior are typically restricted to narrow age ranges, making it difficult to determine if they have the same relevance or potency across the full adult lifespan.
Methods: This study examined selected clinical and neurocognitive risk factors for suicidal behavior – borderline personality traits, aggression, depressive rumination, memory performance, and language fluency– in a multi-site sample (N = 309, ages 16–80) of depressed patients with a recent (last 5 years) suicide attempt or no history of attempt, and demographically similar non-psychiatric controls. We examined cross-sectional age and attempter/non-attempter differences on these risk factors, and whether certain risk factors were more prominent discriminators of past suicide attempt earlier or later in the lifespan. Correlations with age were computed, and logistic regression was used to classify attempter status based on each risk factor and its interaction with age.
Results: Nearly all risk factors were negatively correlated with age. Borderline traits, aggression, memory, and category fluency each predicted attempter status (p < 0.05), but these effects were not different across ages. In contrast, the association between rumination and suicide attempt status differed across the lifespan, becoming a stronger discriminator of past suicidal behavior at older ages.
Limitations: The cross-sectional design limits our developmental findings.
Conclusions: Despite age-related changes in symptom severity or neurocognitive performance, key risk factors for suicidal behavior previously identified in studies with more restricted age-ranges are salient throughout the adult lifespan. In contrast, depressive rumination may be particularly salient in later life.
Background: People who have attempted suicide display suboptimal decision-making in the lab. Yet, it remains unclear whether these difficulties tie in with other detrimental outcomes in their lives besides suicidal behavior. We hypothesize that this is more likely the case for individuals who first attempted suicide earlier than later in life.
Methods: A cross-sectional case-control study of 310 adults aged ≥ 50 years (mean: 63.9), compared early- and late-onset attempters (first attempt < 55 vs. ≥ 55 years of age) to suicide ideators, non-suicidal depressed controls, and non-psychiatric healthy controls. Participants reported potentially avoidable negative decision outcomes across their lifetime, using the Decision Outcome Inventory (DOI). We employed multi-level modeling to examine group differences overall, and in three factor-analytically derived domains labeled Acting Out, Lack of Future Planning, and Hassles.
Results: Psychopathology predicted worse decision outcomes overall, and in the more serious Acting Out and Lack of Future Planning domains, but not in Hassles. Early-onset attempters experienced more negative outcomes than other groups overall, in Lack of Future Planning, and particularly in Acting Out. Late-onset attempters were similar to depressed controls and experienced fewer Acting out outcomes than ideators.
Limitations: The cross-sectional design precluded prospective prediction of attempts. The assessment of negative outcomes may have lacked precision due to recall bias.
Conclusions: Whereas early-onset suicidal behavior is likely the manifestation of long-lasting decision-making deficits in several serious aspects of life, late-onset cases appear to function similarly to non-suicidal depressed adults, suggesting that their attempt originates from a more isolated crisis.