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Empirical Support for an Evolutionary Model of Self-Destructive Motivation

R Michael Brown, Stephanie L Brown, Aron Johnson, Berit Olsen, et al. Suicide & Life Threatening Behavior. New York: Feb 2009. Vol. 39, Iss. 1; pg. 1, 12 pgs
Abstract (Summary)
We tested predictions generated from an evolutionary account of self-destructive motivation in
two survey studies of 18-24-year-old university students. As hypothesized, hierarchical
regressions showed that the positive relationship between perceived burden to family and suicide
ideation was amplified for participants with low measured health and romantic relationship
satisfaction, and for participants with relatively young mothers. The moderating effect of
maternal age was also observed in logistic regressions of suicide attempts. These effects occurred
independently of depression, hopelessness, and other relevant extraneous variables. Results have
implications for understanding self-destructive motivation, assessing suicide risk, and preventing
suicidal thinking and behavior. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]
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Copyright Guilford Publications, Inc. Feb 2009

[Headnote]
We tested predictions generated from an evolutionary account of self-destructive motivation in
two survey studies of 18-24-year-old university students. As hypothesized, hierarchical
regressions showed that the positive relationship between perceived burden to family and suicide
ideation was amplified for participants with low measured health and romantic relationship
satisfaction, and for participants with relatively young mothers. The moderating effect of
maternal age was also observed in logistic regressions of suicide attempts. These effects occurred
independently of depression, hopelessness, and other relevant extraneous variables. Results have
implications for understanding self-destructive motivation, assessing suicide risk, and preventing
suicidal thinking and behavior.
Viewing suicide from an evolutionary per- spective, deCatanzaro (1986) highlighted con- ditions
favorable for the selection of self- destructive motivation: (a) an individual's reproductive value
is low (e.g., due to old age, poor health, or inadequate heterosexual relationships), and (b) the
individual's contin- ued existence burdens genetic relatives, in the sense that it disadvantaged
their reproductive success. Under such conditions, staying alive interferes with the only means of
genetic transmission available - kin reproduction.1
DeCatanzaro's hypothesis that perceived burdensomeness is associated with suicidality has
received support from clinical studies (e.g., Hedberg, Hopkins, & Kohn, 2003; Joiner et al.,
2002; Motto & Bostrom 1990; Van Orden, Lynam, Hollar, & Joiner, 2006; Woznica & Shapiro
1990), and from direct tests of his model (Brown, Dahlen, Mills, Rick, & Biblarz, 1999;
deCatanzaro 1995; Joiner et al. 2002; Van Orden et al., 2006). However, with the exception of
Brown et al. (1999), there have been no published evaluations of the more complex and, in some
cases, less intuitive interactive propositions suggested by the model. Indeed, we do not even
know whether burden effects are amplified with increases in genetic relatedness to the person
burdened, as the model suggests.

The present research consists of two studies designed to deal with these gaps in our knowledge
by focusing on self-destructive motivation in adolescents and young adults enrolled in college. In
this population suicide is second only to accidents in causing death, suicide ideation is
widespread, and there are increasing numbers of students who come to school with a history of
psychiatric treatment and, therefore, vulnerability to suicide (Haas, Hendin, & Mann, 2003).
STUDY 1
The first question addressed in Study 1 was whether burden effects are moderated by an
individual's reproductive potential (IRP). Based on deCatanzaro's model, we expected a burden
IRP interaction, in which perceived (financial and time) burden would be more strongly
associated with suicide ideation and attempts when measures of IRP (health, attractiveness,
romantic relationship satisfaction) are low than when they are high. Note that Joiner's (2005)
theory also expects burden to interact with romantic relationship satisfaction, assuming it taps
"thwarted belongingness" which, along with perceived burdensomeness, is hypothesized to affect
the "desire" for suicide.
The second question was whether burden effects are moderated by a measure of the reproductive
potential of the person burdened (i.e., maternal age). We expected a burden maternal age
interaction, in which burden effects on suicide ideation and attempts would be most pronounced
for participants born to younger mothers; that is, those with the highest likelihood of
reproducing. We assumed that any such effects observed at the time of data collection could have
as their source a developmental process that started much earlier in the lives of both parent and
child. Animal models suggest that young mothers, in particular, are sensitive to offspringgenerated cues for interference with mating and other fitness-enhancing behaviors (CluttonBrock, 1991; Maestripieri & Carroll, 1998), which could lead such mothers to respond in ways
that bias offspring toward developing a sense of burdensomeness.
METHOD
Participants
Participants were selected from a pool of psychology student volunteers from Pacific Lutheran
University on the basis of age (<25 years) and reported status of their parents (both biological
parents were living). Final sample size was 170 (42 males, 128 females) with a median age of 19
years (range= 18-24).
Measures
From a questionnaire we derived two criterion measures: a 2-item suicide ideation - frequency of
thinking and plans -measure (0 None or a little of the time-3 Most or all of the time), and a
single-item dichotomous suicide attempt item (0 Never, 1 At least one attempt). Predictors
included a 2-item financial and time burden composite (0 Disagree to 5 Agree)2 and three singleitem selfreported IRP measures - health (0 Poor to 4 Excellent), attractiveness (0 Nor attractive
to 4 Extremely attractive), romantic relationship satisfaction (0 Totally dissatisfied to 3 Highly

satisfied). Maternal age was measured on a 4-point scale, using the following categories as
response options: 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60+.
A continuous, single-item harm-others ideation criterion was used for control analyses - "Do you
ever think about harming others?" (0 Never to 6 Frequently). Control variables common to all
regressions were gender, Beck's Hopelessness Scale (BHS; Beck, Weissman, Lester, & Trexler,
1974), and a modified version of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI; Beck & Steer, 1987). The
modification consisted of omitting the suicide ideation item from the BDI in order to avoid
obvious overlap between control and criterion measures. Paternal age served as an additional
control for regressions in which maternal age was entered as a predictor. Descriptive statistics for
each of these measures are shown in Table 1.
Analytical Strategy
As a check on validity we computed correlations between each of the suicide measures and
depression, hopelessness, harmothers ideation, and gender. Major analyses consisted of
hierarchical linear regressions of suicide ideation and hierarchical logistic regressions of suicide
attempts. In each regression model, control variables were entered on the first step, main effects
on the second, and the 2-way interaction on the third. Values of all continuous predictors were
centered about the mean (Aiken & West, 1991). For each of the suicide-related criterion
measures (ideation, attempts) we conducted three burden IRP regressions (burden health,
burden attractiveness, burden romantic relationship satisfaction) that controlled for gender,
depression, and hopelessness; and a burden maternal age regression that controlled for gender,
depression, hopelessness, and paternal age.
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TABLE 1
Descriptive Statistics for Criterion, Predictor, and Control Variables (Studies 1 & 2)
We also conducted control regressions to determine whether our burden x reproductive potential
interaction terms would predict harm-others ideation. There is no theoretical rationale for
expecting burden effects on both self- and other-directed hostility, unless (a) such effects are
mediated by generalized aggressive motivational processes (as opposed to specific selfdestructive mechanisms), or (b) burdensomeness is not a cause, but rather a consequence of
generalized aggressive motivational processes.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Preliminary analyses (Table 2) indicated that the two suicide measures correlated positively and
significantly with each other, and with the depression and hopelessness scales (modified BDI and
BHS). Depression correlated positively and significandy with hopelessness. Together, these
findings are quite consistent with other investigations of the relations among depression,
hopelessness, and suicide (e. g., Brown, Beck, Steer, & Grisham, 2000), and they establish
convergent validity among our criterion (and related control) variables. Neither of the suicide

measures, depression, nor hopelessness correlated significandy with harm-others ideation or with
gender. There was, however, a significant inverse relationship between these latter two variables,
with males showing significandy more violent ideation toward others than females, consistent
with well-documented gender-related differences in aggression and violence (Graham & Wells,
2001).
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TABLE 2
Zero-Order Correhtions Among Suicide Measures and Selected Control Variables (Studies 1 &
2)
Burden IRP, Burden Maternal Age
The predicted burden LRP interaction reached statistical significance in all three of the relevant
regressions of suicide ideation: burden health ( = -.16, t (6, 160) = -2.43, p<.05); burden
attractiveness ( = -.17, t (6, 160) = -2.49, p < .05); and burden romantic relationship
satisfaction ( = -.22, t (6, 155) = -3.32, p < .005). The form of the interaction is generally
consistent across measures and is in the predicted direction. Specifically, the positive relationship
between burden and suicide ideation appears strongest in participants with the lowest measured
IRP (Figure 1 illustrates the burden romantic relationship satisfaction interaction). In contrast
to the suicide ideation findings, logistic regressions of suicide attempts showed none of the
predicted burden IRP interactions.
Regressions of suicide ideation on burden and maternal age yielded the predicted burden
maternal age interaction ( = -.17, t (7, 158) = -2.35, p < .05), in which the positive association
between burden and suicide ideation appears strongest in participants with the youngest mothers
and gets weaker with increasing maternal age (Figure 2). Despite the small number of attempters
(N= 11), logistic regression of suicide attempts revealed a similar burden maternal age
interaction (Figure 3), B = -1.37, Wald=SM, p < .03. As for control analyses, none of the burden
main effects or interactions were significant predictors of harm-others ideation.
STUDY 2
Although evidence from Study 1 is generally consistent with deCatanzaro's inclusive fitness
account of self-destructive mo- tivation, important questions remain. First, we do not yet know
the extent to which bur- den effects vary with relationship status of the person burdened.
DeCatanzaro's model implies that there should be no difference be- tween burdening parents and
siblings since degree of genetic relatedness is the same (.50) in both cases; however, Trivers
(1974) argued that siblings compete for parental resources. Accordingly, burdening siblings may
produce fitness benefits that burdening parents would not. Therefore, for an adolescent or young
adult, burdening siblings may exert a weaker effect on self-destructive motivation than burdening
parents.

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Figure 1. Mean predicted suicide ideation scores as a function of burden and romantic
relationship satisfaction (Study 1).

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Figure 2. Mean predicted suicide ideation scores as a function of burden and maternal age (Study
1).

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Figure 3. Mean predicted suicide attempt probability as a function of burden and maternal age
(Study 1). Maternal age was measured categorically; ranges shown are the choices provided
participants in the question: "How old is your biological mother?"
Second, the same inclusive fitness logic that expects burdening kin to increase selfdestructive
motivation dictates that helping kin should reduce it (deCatanzaro, 1986; Brown, Nesse, Vinokur,
& Smith, 2003). Specifically, we wondered whether perceived contributions to kin would show
predictive patterns with suicide ideation opposite those expected with burdensomeness.
We addressed these questions in Study 2, and also included an attempted replication of the major
findings from Study 1. We hypothesized that burden effects on self-destructive motivation
(including interactions with IRP and maternal age) would be strongest when the persons
burdened are parents of the burdensome individual. We also hypothesized that perceived
contribution should be inversely correlated with suicide ideation, and this relationship would be
most pronounced when recipients are parents of the donor.
METHOD
Participants
Participant selection procedures were the same as for Study 1, with final sample size equal to
181 (66 males, 114 females, 1 unreported) with a median age of 19 years (range = 18-23).
Measures
Retained from Study 1 was the 2-item measure of suicide ideation (thinking and plans), the
dichotomous suicide attempt item, the 2-item financial and time burden composite, the three
single-item IRP predictors (health, attractiveness, romantic relationship satisfaction), maternal
age (measured to the nearest year), and, for control purposes, the harm-others ideation measure.

We added a "contribution to others" item, and replaced the BDI and BHS with a 4-item
depression-pessimism composite in order to refine our control variables and keep questionnaire
length manageable. The four items in this composite assess sadness, pessimism, loss of pleasure,
and loss of interest, attributes that appear useful in clinical diagnoses of various depressive
disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). In contrast to Study 1, participants rated
their burdensomeness (and contribution) to each biological relative (parents and full siblings
separately) and to each friend. All measures, with the exception of suicide attempts and maternal
age, were modified to accommodate a 7-point (0 Never to 6 Frequently) scale. (Descriptive
statistics for each of these measures are shown in Table 1.)
Analytical Strategy
We computed correlations between each of our suicide measures and the depression-pessimism
composite, harm-others ideation, and gender. We then used regression procedures to test the
hypothesis that the predictive relationship between burden and measures of self-destructive
motivation should be stronger for family members (especially parents) than for genetically
unrelated individuals. For each relationship category (parents, siblings, friends) we regressed
suicide ideation (linear), harm-others ideation (linear), and suicide attempts (logistic) on (a)
burden, IRP, and burden IRP (controlled for gender and depression-pessimism); and on (b)
burden, maternal age, and burden maternal age (controlled for gender, depression-pessimism,
and paternal age). Procedures for centering and entering variables in the regression analyses were
the same as those used in Study 1.
We also computed correlations between burden (and contribution) and suicide ideation in order
to test the hypothesis that effects of burden and contribution should be opposite one another, and
both should be stronger for family members (especially parents) than for genetically unrelated
individuals. As a control, we correlated harm-others ideation with burden and with contribution.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Preliminary analyses (Table 2) indicated that the two suicide measures correlated positively and
significantly with each other, and with the depression-pessimism composite. In contrast to Study
1, suicide ideation correlated positively and significandy with harm-others ideation, consistent
with results from other investigations of these two variables in adolescents (Harter, Low, &
Whitesell, 2003). And, similar to Study 1, males showed significandy more violent ideation
toward others than females showed. Also, females scored significandy higher than males on
depression-pessimism, consistent with findings from studies of gender differences in depression
(Nolen-Hoeksema, 1990).
Burden IRP, Burden Maternal Age
In regressions of suicide ideation we found two of the three predicted burden IRP interactions
to be significant - burden to parents health ( = -.16, t (5, 174) = -2.23, p < .05), and burden to
parents romantic relationship satisfaction ( = -.17, t (5, 172) = -2.43, p< .05) - consistent with
Study 1. In contrast to Study 1, the burden attractiveness interaction was not significant. The
burden health and burden romantic relationship satisfaction interactions were significant

only when the persons burdened were parents, and only when destructive thoughts were self- as
opposed to other-directed. Logistic regressions of suicide attempts showed none of the predicted
burden IRP interactions, consistent with Study 1 results.
Conversely, the predicted burden maternal age interaction was significant in regressions of
suicide attempts ( = -.09, Wald= 3.98, p < .05), but not in regressions of suicide ideation.
However, subsequent analyses of the suicide ideation data yielded the interaction under
conditions in which it should be amplified based on inclusive fitness considerations; that is,
when the person burdened was mother, and when measured reproductive potential of both
participant and sibling was low. Specifically, the burden maternal age interaction was
significant in the predicted direction only when health was below median for participants and
their siblings ( = -.52, t (6, 29) = -3.32, p < .005), and when participant romantic relationship
satisfaction and sibling health were both below median ( = -.58, t (6, 16) = -3.58, p < .005).3
Importantly, burden to father, sibling, or friend did not interact significandy with maternal age
when measured reproductive potential of both participant and sibling was low. As in Study 1,
none of the burden main effects or interactions were significant predictors of harm-others
ideation.
Burden, Contribution, and Relationship Status of the Person(s) Burdened
Burden correlations with suicide ideation were positive and contribution correlations with
suicide ideation negative, as hypothesized. The only burden correlations to approach or attain
statistical significance were those in which the person(s) burdened were mother (p<.05) or
parents (p<?5), while each of the contribution correlations with suicide ideation were significant
(Table 3). It should be noted, however, that samesample (two-tailed) t tests for differences
between correlations failed to show that the parent correlations were reliably higher than
correlations involving other relationship categories. Finally, as expected, the pattern of
correlations observed for suicide ideation was not duplicated with harm-others ideation, and
none of the burden or contribution correlations with harm-others ideation were significant.
GENERAL DISCUSSION
In the case of suicide ideation, our findings support hypotheses generated from an inclusive
fitness model of self-destructive motivation. In both studies, burden effects on suicide ideation
were strongest for participants with low ratings on health and romantic relationship satisfaction.
This pattern is entirely consistent with deCatanzaro's (1986) argument that it is the confluence of
burdensomeness and individual reproductive potential that constitutes a condition favorable for
the evolution of self-destructive motivation. In addition, the moderating effect of romantic
relationship satisfaction on burden is consistent with Joiner's (2005) argument that the
confluence of perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness influences the desire for
suicide.
Findings from our studies also support the hypothesis that young maternal age may amplify
effects of perceived burdensomeness on self-destructive motivation. Predicted burden maternal
age interactions were significant for both suicide ideation and attempts in Study 1, for attempts in
Study 2, and for suicide ideation in Study 2 when measures of participant and sibling

reproductive potential were low. In each of these interactions, burden effects were stronger for
participants whose mothers were younger rather than older.
Importantly, burden IRP and burden maternal age interactions accounted for variance in
suicide ideation and attempts unexplained by two otherwise robust predictors of suicide
(depression and hopelessness), consistent with results from a recent study of burden main effects
in a clinical sample (Van Orden et al., 2006). It is also important to note that neither burden main
effects nor interactions predicted violent ideation toward others, providing evidence for the
discriminant validity of our predictors, and casting doubt on the possibility that burden effects
are mediated (or caused) by generalized aggressive motivational processes.
Of all our burden findings, the moderating effect of young maternal age is perhaps the most
intriguing. It is not parsimoniously predicted or explained by theoretical models other than those
based on principles of inclusive fitness. Indeed, considering the increased risk of birth
complications in older mothers (Jolly, Sebire, Harris, Robinson, & Regan, 2000),
neurodevelopmental sequellae of some of these complications (Gilbert, Montrose, Sahni,
Diwadkar, & Keshavan, 2003), and genetic mutations in the offspring of older fathers (Perrin,
Brown, & Malaspina, 2007), a case could be made for expecting just the opposite finding - that
burden effects should be more pronounced if mother is older than if she is younger.
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TABLE 3
Significant Zero-Order Correlations Between Burden and Suicide Ideation, Burden and Harmothers Ideation, Contribution and Suicide Ideation, Contribution and Harm-others Ideation
(Study 2)
The burden-young mother phenomenon may help us begin to understand why young maternal
age has been implicated in negative developmental outcomes, including poor parenting (U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, 2002), and suicide attempts and completions
(Mittendorfer-Rutz, Rasmussen, & Wasserman, 2004). Young, reproductively viable mothers
may be more sensitive to demands from children, and more likely to react in a neglectful or even
abusive manner to their children's needs. In turn, such reactions may activate negative emotions
and self-destructive behavior in children, making them more likely to attempt or complete
suicide.
Of course, this account is speculative, but its focus on the mother's reproductive viability is
supported by the range of maternal ages observed in our samples. Over a third of the participants'
mothers were younger than 45 placing them, statistically, at or near peak fertility when
participants were infants and preschoolers, and capable of reproduction even at the time of data
collection (Tietze, 1957; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007). The account is
also consistent with existing animal models of neglect and abuse (Maestripieri & Carroll, 1998)
and with human data (e.g., Malkin & Lamb, 1994), and can generate testable hypotheses that, in
our view, merit evaluation.

Perceived contribution was also associated with suicide ideation, inversely, as expected. Clearly,
the role of contribution in regulating self-destructive motivation warrants additional
investigation. Recent studies of helping have shown that giving to others (even when controlled
for receiving from others) is associated with important positive outcomes for the helper,
including reductions in mortality (Brown et al., 2003) and morbidity (Brown, Consedine, &
Magai, 2005). If the effects of giving are found to extend to self-destructive motivation as well, it
will be important theoretically, perhaps even casting new light on the mortality and morbidity
phenomena. Practically speaking, such a finding might lead to novel approaches to the challenge
of suicide prevention.
Unresolved Issues and Limitations
Suicide Ideation versus Attempts. Burden IRP and burden maternal age interactions were
significandy related to suicide ideation, but suicide attempts were predicted only by the burden
maternal age interaction. It is possible that our attempters were not motivated by true selfdestructive intent, reflecting instead cries for help or attention - "parasuicide" (Kreitman, 1977);
or, in Joiner's (2005) terms, they may have lacked the "capability" for lethal self-injury. But our
data suggest otherwise - at least some of the attempters appeared to be truly self-destructive.4 An
alternative explanation is that burden IRP effects may have gone undetected in attempters
because of small samples coupled with a relatively blunt data analytic procedure - logistic
regressions of a dichotomous attempt variable (0 = no attempts, 1 = at least one attempt). To help
clarify this issue, we conducted subsequent linear regressions of multiple attempts, informed by
Joiner's argument that suicide risk is elevated in individuals who have made multiple attempts in
the presence of even one additional risk factor (e.g., burdensomeness). In sharp contrast to
logistic regressions of the original dichotomous attempt measure, analyses of multiple attempts
did indeed reveal significant burden IRP interactions.5
Construct Validity. Although it is conceivable that burden and IRP predictors are confounded by
negative affect due to chronic or situational factors, controlling for depression and depressionpessimism reduces the chance that negative affect is driving our results. Moreover, subsequent
analyses indicate that hypothesized burden IRP interactions remain significant when
regressions are controlled for self-rated popularity and academic accomplishment, which are
likely related to social desirability (e.g., impression management) and self-esteem. Importandy,
burden IRP interaction terms do not predict any one of these variables significandy. As for
maternal age, although there was sufficient variation to support inferences concerning
reproductive value, it would be desirable to replicate our procedures using a broader age range of
adolescent and young adult participants (e.g., 12-24 years). This would increase the likelihood of
sampling younger maternal ages, which should (theoretically) amplify the burden maternal age
interaction.6
Internal Validity. The cross-sectional, correlational nature of our data constrains what we can say
about the direction of causality of burdensomeness and our other predictors. DeCatanzaro's
model suggests that cues for burdensomeness play a causal role in activating self-destructive
motivational processes. But the precise way in which this is accomplished is left unspecified, and
other causal scenarios are possible. For example: Does burden activate self-destructive
motivation direcdy, or do negative emotions mediate between perceived burden and self-

destructive impulses? Alternatively, do negative emotions create a sense of burdensomeness,


which, in turn, activates self-destructive motivation? Clearly, these different causal scenarios
have very different implications for treating and preventing self-destructive behavior, a
sufficiently compelling reason for mounting prospective research efforts designed to illuminate
causal trajectories of burdensomeness.
External Validity. Our generalizations are also limited by our samples - students from a small,
private university in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, largely female, White,
middle- to upper-middle class, unmarried, at the peak of fertility, and not suffering serious
physical or psychological maladies. We doubt that diese qualifications have much bearing on
observed burden main effects, which appear replicable across diverse samples (deCatanzarro
1995; Van Orden et al., 2006), but more work is needed to establish the external validity of the
burden interaction effects observed in the present research. At the same time, it is important to
note that our hypotheses and measures were designed specifically for adolescent and young adult
participants, limiting generalization to other groups.
Implications for Understanding and Preventing Suicide
For the most part, evolutionary approaches to self-destructive motivation are given little play
(and often misinterpreted) in contemporary reviews of suicidology; furthermore,
burdensomeness hardly merits a mention, except when conflated with "depressive disorders"
(Maris, Berman, & Silverman, 2000). But continuing this practice may prove to be a serious
omission, delaying important dialogue between clinical psychology and evolutionary psychology
(Siegert & Ward, 2002). Our findings and those of others (deCatanzarro, 1995; Hedberg et al.,
2003; Joiner et al., 2002; Van Orden et al., 2006) suggest that, when it comes to understanding
suicidal thinking and behavior, perceived burdensomeness is a risk factor to be reckoned with,
independent of depression and hopelessness. Moreover, our findings raise the possibility that, at
least for adolescents and young adults, it is perceived burdensomeness to parents that may be
particularly problematic, especially so when combined with assessments of low individual
(offspring) reproductive value or high maternal reproductive value.
Our burden findings underscore the suggestion made by others that perceived burdensomeness
should be one of the factors used in the clinical assessment of suicide risk (Joiner et al., 2007;
Van Orden et al., 2006). The observation in our studies that burden effects were moderated by
measures of reproductive value argues for inclusion of such measures in these assessment
protocols. Our findings, along with the work of others, also have implications for treatment of
individuals at risk for suicidal behavior. We agree with Van Orden et al. that cognitive-behavioral
techniques might be used to help restructure perceptions of burdensomeness by having the
individual identify fallacious conclusions of burdensomeness and then focus on contributions he
or she has made to others (Brown et al., 1999). Indeed, our observation in the present research
that perceived contributions are inversely related to suicide ideation is reason for optimism
regarding possible outcomes of such restructuring attempts. We would add, however, that it may
also be important to involve family members in such ventures, so they "might learn to recognize
their roles in communicating overt or subde messages of burdensomeness to the depressed
relative, and to appreciate the potentially lethal impact of such communications" (Brown et al.,
1999, p. 69).

[Footnote]
1. It is important to note that deCatanzaro's model focuses on past recurrent evolutionary
contingencies, so there is no particular reason to expect that the model should predict suicidal
thinking and behavior in the present. Nevertheless, there is increasing evidence to suggest that it
does.
[Footnote]
2. Factor analysis of a variety of items (N= 402) resulted in a 3-factor (oblique rotation) solution
- "burden," "dependence," and "importance to parents." The financial and time burden items used
in the present study had by far the highest loadings on the burden factor for all participants (.81
for each item).
[Footnote]
3. Participant IRP was indexed by health or romantic relationship satisfaction; sibling IRP was
indexed by health, as rated by the participant.
[Footnote]
4. A majority (79%) of our attempters indicated they had made a "specific plan or preparation" to
end their life, and approximately 25% reported having made multiple attempts, and/or having
used lethal means (drowning, hanging, asphyxiation, or gunshot).
5. Study 1: burden attractiveness, = -.16, t (6, 159) = -2.04, p < .05, burden romantic
relationship satisfaction, = -.19, t (6, 154) = -2.36, p<.05; Study 2: burden romantic
relationship satisfaction, = -.14, t (5, 172) = -2.00, p<.05.
6. At the proximate level, motivation to have children may be a more important consideration
than average fertility values in driving interactions between burden and maternal age. Extant data
suggest that maternal desire is not absent in women well into dieir 40s (Tietze, 1957; U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, 2007).
[Reference] View reference page with links
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Manuscript Received: December 13, 2007
Revision Accepted: July 15, 2008
[Author Affiliation]
R. MICHAEL BROWN, PHD, STEPHANIE L. BROWN, PHD, ARON JOHNSON, BA,
BERIT OLSEN, BA, KRISTEN MELVER, BA, AND MARK SULLIVAN, MBA
[Author Affiliation]
R. MICHAEL BROWN, Department of Psychology, Pacific Ludieran University; STEPHANIE
L. BROWN, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan; Aron Johnson, School of
Architecture, University of Washington; BERIT OLSEN, Department of Psychology, University
of Washington; and KRISTEN MELVER AND MARK SULLIVAN, Pacific Lutheran
University.
Preparation of the manuscript was supported in part by a National Institute of Mental Health
career grant (K01-MH065423) to Stephanie Brown, but the manuscript's contents are solely the
responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National
Institute of Mental Health.
Address correspondence to R. Michael Brown, Department of Psychology, Pacific Lutheran
University, Tacoma, WA 98447-0003; E-mail: brownrm@plu.edu

References

References (35)

305

PQ

REVERSE_CHRO

1238141783

Indexing (document details)


Subjects:
Suicides & suicide attempts, Studies, Mental depression, Behavior
Author(s):

R Michael Brown, Stephanie L Brown, Aron Johnson, Berit Olsen, Kristen


Melver, Mark Sullivan

Author
Affiliation:

R. MICHAEL BROWN, PHD, STEPHANIE L. BROWN, PHD, ARON


JOHNSON, BA, BERIT OLSEN, BA, KRISTEN MELVER, BA, AND
MARK SULLIVAN, MBA
R. MICHAEL BROWN, Department of Psychology, Pacific Ludieran
University; STEPHANIE L. BROWN, Department of Internal Medicine,
University of Michigan; Aron Johnson, School of Architecture, University of
Washington; BERIT OLSEN, Department of Psychology, University of
Washington; and KRISTEN MELVER AND MARK SULLIVAN, Pacific
Lutheran University.
Preparation of the manuscript was supported in part by a National Institute of
Mental Health career grant (K01-MH065423) to Stephanie Brown, but the
manuscript's contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not
necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Mental
Health.
Address correspondence to R. Michael Brown, Department of Psychology,
Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA 98447-0003; E-mail:
brownrm@plu.edu

Document
types:

Feature, Journal Article

Document
features:

Tables, Graphs, References

Publication
title:

Suicide & Life - Threatening Behavior. New York: Feb 2009. Vol. 39, Iss. 1;
pg. 1, 12 pgs

Source type:

Periodical

ISSN:

03630234

ProQuest
1663891971
document ID:
Text Word
Count

5569

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URL:

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did=1663891971&sid=3&Fmt=4&clientId=62763&RQT=309&VName=PQD