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Psychological distress and perfectionism in recent suicide attempters: the role of behavioural inhibition and activation

Rasmussen, Susan and Elliott, Mark and O'Connor, Rory (2012) Psychological distress and perfectionism in recent suicide attempters: the role of behavioural inhibition and activation. Personality and Individual Differences. ISSN 0191-8869 (In Press)

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Abstract

The present study explored the role of approach and avoidance motivation in self-harm patients. Specifically, it tested the hypotheses that perfectionism moderates/mediates the association between these different motivation systems and psychological distress (suicidal thinking & hopelessness). Patients (n=125) admitted overnight following self-harm completed self-report measures of motivation (BIS/BAS), multidimensional perfectionism, depression/anxiety, hopelessness and suicidal thinking. The results showed that socially prescribed perfectionism mediated the relationship between behavioural inhibition (BIS) and suicidal thinking, whilst self-oriented perfectionism moderated the BAS-Drive x suicidal thinking relationship. In addition, in support of the updated Reinforcement Sensitivity Framework we found a moderating relationship between BIS and BAS-Drive in the prediction of hopelessness. The clinical and theoretical implications are discussed.