Date of Award

Fall 12-11-2015

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Michael Anestis

Committee Chair Department

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Dr. Joye Anestis

Committee Member 2 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Dr. Matthew Tull

Abstract

The primary aim of this study was to examine the relationship between components of suicidal desire and psychotropic medication. Specifically, the usage of psychotropic medication, the usage of specific classes of psychotropic medications and the amount of psychotropic medication utilized and differences in feelings of perceived burdensomeness, thwarted belongingness and overall suicide risk were examined. The present study utilized pre-collected data consisting of 225 patients with substance use disorder undergoing residential treatment for substance dependence. It was posited that individuals utilizing psychotropic medications would exhibit higher mean levels of thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness, and suicide risk relative to individuals not utilizing psychotropics and that individuals utilizing multiple psychotropic medications would exhibit higher suicidal desire and risk than individuals utilizing zero or one psychotropic medication. Additionally, it was posited that individuals utilizing antipsychotics would exhibit higher suicidal desire and risk than individuals utilizing any other type of psychotropic medication. For all hypotheses it was posited that such effects would occur above and beyond severity of psychopathology and substance use. Results indicated a significant difference in suicide risk between individuals utilizing a psychotropic and individuals not utilizing a psychotropic. Additional exploratory analyses indicated a significant difference in levels of perceived burdensomeness between individuals utilizing an antidepressant and individuals utilizing any other type of psychotropic besides an antidepressant. Overall, results suggest that the use of psychotropic medication may increase the risk for suicide. These findings highlight the need for routine suicide risk assessments for patients utilizing psychotropic medications.

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