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Relationship of optimism and suicidal ideation in three groups of patients at varying levels of suicide risk.


ABSTRACT: Optimism has been associated with reduced suicidal ideation, but there have been few studies in patients at high suicide risk. We analyzed data from three study populations (total N = 319) with elevated risk of suicide: (1) patients with a recent acute cardiovascular event, (2) patients hospitalized for heart disease who had depression or an anxiety disorder, and (3) patients psychiatrically hospitalized for suicidal ideation or following a suicide attempt. For each study we analyzed the association between optimism (measured by the Life-Orientation Test-Revised) and suicidal ideation, and then completed an exploratory random effects meta-analysis of the findings to synthesize this data. The meta-analysis of the three studies showed that higher levels of self-reported optimism were associated with a lower likelihood of suicidal ideation (odds ratio [OR] = .89, 95% confidence interval [CI] = .85-.95, z = 3.94, p < .001), independent of age, gender, and depressive symptoms. This association held when using the subscales of the Life Orientation Test-Revised scale that measured higher optimism (OR = .84, 95% CI = .76-.92, z = 3.57, p < .001) and lower pessimism (OR = .83, 95% CI = .75-.92], z = 3.61, p < .001). These results also held when suicidal ideation was analyzed as an ordinal variable. Our findings suggest that optimism may be associated with a lower risk of suicidal ideation, above and beyond the effects of depressive symptoms, for a wide range of patients with clinical conditions that place them at elevated risk for suicide.

SUBMITTER: Huffman JC 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4841259 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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