Hope and the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behavior: Replication and extension of prior findings

Michael D. Anestis, Fallon B. Moberg, Randolph C. Arnau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behavior (IPTS; Joiner, 2005) posits that suicidal behavior occurs when an individual has a desire for death (due to the combination of perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness) in addition to an acquired capacity for suicide, which is present when the individual has a low fear of death and high pain tolerance. Previous research has demonstrated an expected negative relation between trait hope and perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness, as well as a more perplexing finding that hope is positively associated with the acquired capability. In a sample of 230 college students, measures of the three components of the IPTS were administered, along with measures of hope, depression, and painful and/or provocative events. Hierarchical regression analyses replicated the previously found associations between hope and burdensomeness and belongingness while controlling for depression and demographic variables. The positive association between hope and acquired capacity was also replicated, but a mediation analysis demonstrated that the effect was statistically accounted for by distress tolerance. The results further support the incremental validity of hope as a consideration in suicide risk assessments and suggest that hope may serve as a protective factor with respect to suicidal desire.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-187
Number of pages13
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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