The Interplay Among Risk Factors for Suicidal Ideation and Suicide: The Role of Depression, Poor Health, and Loved Ones’ Messages of Support and Criticism

When individuals who receive social support are in poor physical or mental health and are criticized or made to feel unwanted, they may perceive themselves as a burden. Poor physical health and depression were hypothesized to exacerbate the harmful effects on suicidal ideation of receiving critical negative messages and of receiving social support. These hypotheses were tested using secondary analyses of data from a sample of 533 unemployed married individuals (aged 19-76 yrs; 55% male) who were assessed shortly after job loss, and 6 months later. The results of our analyses supported the hypotheses and demonstrated that for participants with poor health or high level of depressive symptoms an increase in critical messages and social support (from Time 1 to Time 2) predicted increased suicidal ideation. This relationship was not observed for non-depressed participants in good health. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for suicide prevention. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)