We review the theoretical and empirical literature on the role of self-concept in suicidal behavior in the context of mood disorders (i.e., unipolar depression and bipolar spectrum disorders). The main themes emanating from this review are then juxtaposed against (a) the Interpersonal-Psychological Theory of Suicide and (b) biological research on the role of inflammatory processes in suicidality. Such a juxtaposition paves the way for a bio-cognitive-interpersonal hypothesis. Pathologies of the self-concept—primarily self-criticism—propel mood disorder sufferers to generate interpersonal stress that culminates in two proximal causes of suicidality: thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness. In turn, these two interpersonal conditions set in motion systemic biosystemic inflammation, serving as a proximal cause for suicidality in mood disorders. We conclude by describing a research project aimed at testing this hypothesis, and by outlining pertinent implications for assessment, treatment, and prevention.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology