Date of Award

Fall 12-2017

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Michael Anestis

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Joye Anestis

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Daniel Capron

Committee Member 3 Department



Impulsivity has been identified as an important component of suicidal behavior (Mann et al., 1999) but the relationship has been shown to be indirect through painful and provocative events (PPEs; Bender, Gordon, Bresin, Joiner, 2011). Negative urgency (NU) is a subscale of impulsivity (Cyders et al., 2007) that has been associated with high engagement of PPEs such as non-suicidal self-injury because individuals high in NU are highly motivated to eliminate the aversive emotion (Anestis & Joiner, 2011). Past research found that repeated PPEs may increase the capability for suicide by changing how one responds to pain, thereby increasing their pain persistence (Anestis et al., 2014a). Thus, the present thesis project sought to examine the role of pain persistence in the association between NU and suicide attempts

A sample of 120 undergraduate students completed a study protocol consisting of the following: 1) structured interview (Nock et al., 2007), 2) two different pain response tasks, and 3) self-report measures. The results did not support the hypothesis that NU will be associated with suicide attempts and that this relationship will be moderated by pain persistence and indirect through pain persistence. The proposed model did not consider the potential role of dispositional components of pain response in divergent pathways to the capability for suicide. Additionally, the undergraduate sample could have affected the results or limited the extent to which effects were observed. Further research should examine how other factors, in addition to pain response, can facilitate the transition from suicide ideation to attempt.