Contributions of Cognitions, Psychological Flexibility, and Therapeutic Alliance to Suicidal Ideation in Psychiatric Inpatients

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Abstract

Although suicide treatment is an expanding area of research, there is relatively less in the literature with respect to how specific vulnerabilities to suicide are addressed by treatment. Utilizing measures of suicide cognitions, therapeutic alliance, and psychological flexibility, we compared their relative contributions to suicidal ideation during and posttreatment among a group of adult psychiatric inpatients (N = 434). Results revealed that cognitions contributed considerably more unique variance to suicidal ideation than alliance and flexibility at discharge and at 2 weeks postdischarge, and to change in suicidal ideation over the course of treatment. Psychological flexibility explained a small amount of variance at the 6-month time point. Factor level analyses also were conducted, with the unsolvability factor within suicide cognitions accounting for the largest portion of variance at both discharge and 2 weeks postdischarge. Study limitations, implications, and future directions are discussed.

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