Reasons for living and hopelessness as predictors of future suicide attempt

Dana Meredith Lizardi, Fordham University


The identification of individuals at risk for attempting suicide is a difficult task for mental health professionals. While there is consensus that a high proportion of individuals who attempt suicide have psychiatric disorders, it is also true that the majority of psychiatric patients do not attempt suicide. It remains unclear why certain individuals choose not to engage in suicidal behaviors. The Reasons for Living Inventory, which assesses several adaptive beliefs and expectations that may act to mitigate against suicidal behavior, has been shown to correlate with a history of suicide attempts, with a greater number of reasons for living serving as a protective factor against suicide attempts. However, it is unclear whether the Reasons for Living Inventory can predict future suicide attempts. The role of hopelessness in predicting future suicide attempt risk also remains unclear. The goal of this study is to examine the total Reasons for Living Inventory, the six subscales of the Reasons for Living Inventory, and hopelessness to determine whether they are predictive of future suicide attempts over a two-year period. Inpatients who presented with DSM-III-R Major Depression or Bipolar Disorder were assessed for hopelessness, severity of depression and reasons for living, and were followed for two years. Follow-up interviews took place at 3 months, one year and two-years post-Baseline. Survival analysis was conducted to determine whether the individual subscales of the Inventory, the total Inventory, or hopelessness predict time to a suicide attempt.

Subject Area

Social work|Behaviorial sciences

Recommended Citation

Lizardi, Dana Meredith, "Reasons for living and hopelessness as predictors of future suicide attempt" (2004). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3125134.