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A Two-Year Prospective Study of Psychache and its Relationship to Suicidality Among High-Risk Undergraduates


  • This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Please address correspondence to: Talia Troister, Department of Psychology, Queen's University, 62 Arch Street, Kingston, Ontario K7 L 3N6, Canada. E-mail:



Edwin Shneidman's theory of suicide was tested by examining the relationships of depression, hopelessness, and psychache with suicide ideation, longitudinally.


Forty-one high-risk students who were suicide ideators completed questionnaires measuring depression, hopelessness, psychache, and suicide ideation at baseline and 2 years later.


Regression analyses showed that at baseline and at follow-up, psychache was the only unique contributor to the statistical prediction of suicide ideation. When examining change over time, change in psychache was the only factor that added significant unique variance to the prediction of change in suicide ideation.


Results support Shneidman's assertion that other psychological factors, such as depression and hopelessness, are only important to suicide insofar as their relationship with psychache, and that psychache and suicide ideation co-vary over time.