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Keywords:

  • anxiety sensitivity;
  • interpersonal–psychological theory;
  • suicide

Abstract

Background

Anxiety along with anxiety-related risk factors has been increasingly implicated in suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. One such risk factor, anxiety sensitivity (AS), refers to fear of anxiety-related sensations. Subfactors of AS, notably physical and cognitive concerns, seem to be relevant to acquired capability, a risk factor for death by suicide from Joiner's (2005) Interpersonal–Psychological Theory of Suicide.

Methods

This study examined the effect of Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI) total score and subfactor scores on suicidal ideation and suicide attempt history in a very large, moderately severe outpatient sample (N = 1,378).

Results

Analyses were consistent with our a priori predictions about ASI cognitive concern and suicidal ideation. In contrast, ASI physical concerns did not predict previous suicide attempt as well as ASI cognitive or social concerns. However, ASI physical concerns did moderate the relationship between ASI social concerns and previous suicide attempt.

Conclusions

These findings suggest that suicide potential may be related to cognitive risk factors for anxiety. Depression and Anxiety 0:1–7, 2011.  © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.