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Journal Article


Hunt RA, Levinson CA. Behav. Ther. 2021; 52(5): 1137-1144.


(Copyright © 2021, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Publisher Elsevier Publishing)






Past research has demonstrated a strong relationship between eating disorders (EDs) and suicidality (i.e., suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts), and preliminary work within the framework of the interpersonal psychological theory of suicide (Joiner, 2007) suggests that potentially painful ED behaviors (binge eating, purging, fasting, excessive exercise) may contribute to increased risk of suicide through heightened pain tolerance and increased capability of suicide. However, additional explanations are needed for why only some individuals with EDs actually engage in suicidal behaviors (i.e., attempt suicide), whereas others do not. A growing body of literature suggests that interoceptive deficits (a disconnection from one's own bodily sensations and emotions; IDs) might be a factor linking eating disorders and suicide. To better understand this relationship, the current study tests the moderating effects of self-reported IDs on the relations between ED behaviors and suicidality and past suicide attempts in a transdiagnostic ED sample (N = 181). We hypothesized that ED behaviors would directly relate to suicidality, but that IDs would moderate the relationship between ED behaviors and past suicide attempts, such that those high in IDs would demonstrate a stronger relationship between ED behaviors and suicide attempts. Contrary to our hypothesis, IDs did not moderate the relationship; instead, fasting and purging had significant and strong main effects on suicidality and past suicide attempts without moderation effects.

RESULTS suggest that fasting and purging may be important ED behaviors to consider in the relationship between EDs and suicidality. Future directions include further examining the relationship between IDs, suicidality, and EDs using measures of IDs that better encompass physical (as opposed to emotional) aspects of IDs.

Language: en


suicide; suicidal ideation; suicide attempts; eating disorders; IDs


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