The Trajectory of Suicidal Behavior Over Time

Authors

  • Thomas E. Joiner Jr. PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Bright-Burton Professor of Psychology at Florida State University.
      Department of Psychology, Eppes Building, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306–1270, E-mail: joiner@psy.fsu.edu.
    Search for more papers by this author

  • This article is a revised version of the Edwin Shneidman Award address presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Suicidology, Atlanta, GA, April 21, 2001. The author is indebted to David Rudd, Aaron T. Beck, Frank Johnson, Karen Wagner, Greg Brown, Jeremy Pettit, David Jobes, Ken Soderstrom, Jon Pfaff, John Acres, Rheeda Walker, Mark Rouleau, and Hasan Rajab for collaboration on the work from which this article draws.

Department of Psychology, Eppes Building, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306–1270, E-mail: joiner@psy.fsu.edu.

Abstract

Some empirical work on genetic and prenatal factors in suicidality is presented. These factors may represent enduring predispositions that comprise risk for initial as well as later suicidal behavior. The existence of enduring predispositions does not preclude the possibility, however, that initial suicidal behavior sets processes into motion that spur later suicidal behavior. Based on past conceptual and empirical work, I suggest two psychological processes—cognitive sensitization and opponent processes—that may partly explain the link between past and future suicidal behavior.

Ancillary