A Cognitive Distortions and Deficits Model of Suicide Ideation

Laura L. Fazakas-DeHoog, Katerina Rnic, David J. A. Dozois


Although cognitive distortions and deficits are known risk factors for the development and escalation of suicide ideation and behaviour, no empirical work has examined how these variables interact to predict suicide ideation. The current study proposes an integrative model of cognitive distortions (hopelessness and negative evaluations of self and future) and deficits (problem solving deficits, problem solving avoidance, and cognitive rigidity). To test the integrity of this model, a sample of 397 undergraduate students completed measures of deficits, distortions, and current suicide ideation. A structural equation model demonstrated excellent fit, and findings indicated that only distortions have a direct effect on suicidal thinking, whereas cognitive deficits may exert their effects on suicide ideation via their reciprocal relation with distortions. Findings underscore the importance of both cognitive distortions and deficits for understanding suicidality, which may have implications for preventative efforts and treatment.


cognitive distortions; cognitive deficits; suicide; suicide ideation; hopelessness

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