Project Title

SELF-FORGIVENESS AND SUICIDE RISK IN VETERANS: EXAMINING SERIAL LINKAGES OF SHAME AND INTERPERSONAL NEEDS

Authors' Affiliations

Kelley C. Pugh, B.A.(1), Jon R. Webb, Ph.D.(2), Loren L. Toussaint, Ph.D.(3), & Jameson K. Hirsch, Ph.D.(1) (1) Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, East Tennessee State University (2) Department of Community, Family, and Addiction Sciences, College of Human Sciences, Texas Tech University (3) Department of Psychology, Luther College

Location

Ballroom

Start Date

4-5-2018 8:00 AM

End Date

4-5-2018 12:00 PM

Poster Number

61

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Jameson K. Hirsch, Ph.D.

Faculty Sponsor's Department

Psychology

Type

Poster: Competitive

Classification of First Author

Graduate Student-Master’s

Project's Category

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract Text

Veterans in America are at 22% increased risk for suicide compared to the general population, perhaps due to military experiences (e.g., killing another person) that contribute to maladaptive cognitive-emotional functioning, including feelings of self-blame. A lack of self-forgiveness may maintain feelings of shame, conceptualized as humiliation or distress following perception of having behaved wrongly, which may, further, deleteriously impact interpersonal functioning, increasing suicide risk. Shame may lead an individual to withdraw from others, resulting in thwarted belongingness (i.e., a perception of a lack of membership with a group), and may contribute to feeling like a burden (i.e., a perception of being taxing or restrictive to others), both of which are known predictors of suicide. The ability to forgive the self, however, may reduce feelings of shame and, in turn, improve interpersonal functioning and suicide risk; yet, this model has not been previously tested. At the bivariate level, we hypothesized that shame, perceived burdensomeness, thwarted belongingness, and suicide risk would all be positively related, and that they would all be inversely related to self-forgiveness. At the multivariate level, we tested two serial mediation models, hypothesizing that the relation between self-forgiveness and suicide risk would be mediated by shame (1st order) and perceived burdensomeness/thwarted belongingness (2nd order), such that lower levels of self-forgiveness would be associated with greater perceptions of shame and, in turn, to greater perceptions of burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness, and consequent greater suicide risk. Participants (N=551; Mean Age=50.4, SD=16.6) were recruited via online invitations distributed to veteran social media groups and were predominantly male (n=382, 69.3%) and White (n=469, 85.1%). Participants completed Fetzer’s Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness and Spirituality (BMMRS), the Differential Emotions Scale (DES-IV), the Interpersonal Needs Questionnaire (INQ), and the Suicide Behaviors Questionnaire – Revised (SBQR). Bivariate correlations and multivariate analyses were conducted via the SPSS PROCESS macro (Hayes, 2013), covarying age, race, and sex, and utilizing a 10,000 bootstrapping sample. All bivariate hypotheses were supported at the p<.001 level. Also supporting hypotheses, in multivariate analyses, the direct effect of self-forgiveness on suicide risk fell out of significance (β=.102, p=.437) when shame and perceived burdensomeness were added to the model (β=.642, p<.001), indicating mediation. Similarly, the direct effect of self-forgiveness on suicide risk fell out of significance (β=.048, p=.733) when shame and thwarted belongingness were added to the model (β=.630, p<.001), also indicating mediation. Our findings indicate that the relation between self-forgiveness and suicide risk is partially explained by the beneficial effect of self-forgiveness on shame and thwarted interpersonal needs. Our findings are particularly salient for veterans, who may experience self-blame and shame due to military experiences (e.g., sexual trauma, harming civilians). Interestingly, our findings suggest that self-forgiveness not only impacts one’s perception of the self, but also perceived relationships with others. Therapeutically addressing feelings of shame (e.g., via self-forgiveness exercises), reducing perceptions of burden (e.g., via cognitive reframing), and enhancing perceptions of belongingness (e.g., via group therapy), may ameliorate suicide risk in veterans.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 5th, 8:00 AM Apr 5th, 12:00 PM

SELF-FORGIVENESS AND SUICIDE RISK IN VETERANS: EXAMINING SERIAL LINKAGES OF SHAME AND INTERPERSONAL NEEDS

Ballroom

Veterans in America are at 22% increased risk for suicide compared to the general population, perhaps due to military experiences (e.g., killing another person) that contribute to maladaptive cognitive-emotional functioning, including feelings of self-blame. A lack of self-forgiveness may maintain feelings of shame, conceptualized as humiliation or distress following perception of having behaved wrongly, which may, further, deleteriously impact interpersonal functioning, increasing suicide risk. Shame may lead an individual to withdraw from others, resulting in thwarted belongingness (i.e., a perception of a lack of membership with a group), and may contribute to feeling like a burden (i.e., a perception of being taxing or restrictive to others), both of which are known predictors of suicide. The ability to forgive the self, however, may reduce feelings of shame and, in turn, improve interpersonal functioning and suicide risk; yet, this model has not been previously tested. At the bivariate level, we hypothesized that shame, perceived burdensomeness, thwarted belongingness, and suicide risk would all be positively related, and that they would all be inversely related to self-forgiveness. At the multivariate level, we tested two serial mediation models, hypothesizing that the relation between self-forgiveness and suicide risk would be mediated by shame (1st order) and perceived burdensomeness/thwarted belongingness (2nd order), such that lower levels of self-forgiveness would be associated with greater perceptions of shame and, in turn, to greater perceptions of burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness, and consequent greater suicide risk. Participants (N=551; Mean Age=50.4, SD=16.6) were recruited via online invitations distributed to veteran social media groups and were predominantly male (n=382, 69.3%) and White (n=469, 85.1%). Participants completed Fetzer’s Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness and Spirituality (BMMRS), the Differential Emotions Scale (DES-IV), the Interpersonal Needs Questionnaire (INQ), and the Suicide Behaviors Questionnaire – Revised (SBQR). Bivariate correlations and multivariate analyses were conducted via the SPSS PROCESS macro (Hayes, 2013), covarying age, race, and sex, and utilizing a 10,000 bootstrapping sample. All bivariate hypotheses were supported at the p<.001 level. Also supporting hypotheses, in multivariate analyses, the direct effect of self-forgiveness on suicide risk fell out of significance (β=.102, p=.437) when shame and perceived burdensomeness were added to the model (β=.642, p<.001), indicating mediation. Similarly, the direct effect of self-forgiveness on suicide risk fell out of significance (β=.048, p=.733) when shame and thwarted belongingness were added to the model (β=.630, p<.001), also indicating mediation. Our findings indicate that the relation between self-forgiveness and suicide risk is partially explained by the beneficial effect of self-forgiveness on shame and thwarted interpersonal needs. Our findings are particularly salient for veterans, who may experience self-blame and shame due to military experiences (e.g., sexual trauma, harming civilians). Interestingly, our findings suggest that self-forgiveness not only impacts one’s perception of the self, but also perceived relationships with others. Therapeutically addressing feelings of shame (e.g., via self-forgiveness exercises), reducing perceptions of burden (e.g., via cognitive reframing), and enhancing perceptions of belongingness (e.g., via group therapy), may ameliorate suicide risk in veterans.