Direct and Mediated Relationships of Schizotypy with Suicidal Anticipation and Dread
Common and severe mental disorders, including those on the schizophrenia spectrum, are associated with an elevated risk for suicide. There is also strong evidence that suicide is associated with risk for mental disorder. In 1964, Meehl identified suicidality and suicidal dread as a core characteristic of schizotypy—the disposition for schizophrenia. Having been unable to find any research into or elaboration of Meehl’s concept of suicide dread, I aimed to characterise suicide dread, investigate the cognitions and emotional reactions related to anticipation of suicide, and explore direct and mediated relationships with schizotypy. It was hypothesized any relationships between schizotypy and suicidal dread would be mediated by anxiety, impulsivity, and intolerance of uncertainty, but not depressive symptoms. Participants were recruited through MTurk, and completed measures of schizotypy, depression, anxiety, impulsivity, and intolerance of uncertainty. A new measure, The Suicidal Dread Questionnaire (SDQ), was also completed. The results showed that feelings of fear or dread about suicide appeared to be unrelated to schizotypy, depression, anxiety, impulsivity, and suicidality. Despite this, schizotypy appeared to be have some direct associations with anticipation of future suicide as well as fears about acting on unwanted impulses to commit suicide. In addition, depressive symptoms at least partially mediated all relationships of schizotypy with anticipation of future suicide, intrusive or distressing thoughts and images about suicide, and fears about acting on an unwanted suicidal impulse. The SDQ should be expanded and refined for future use, and prospective studies conducted over short timeframes using a variety of populations.
Advisor: Linscott, Richard
Degree Name: Master of Science
Degree Discipline: Psychology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: schizotypy; suicide; dread; suicidal; intolerance
Research Type: Thesis