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The Relationship Between Continuous Identity Disturbances, Negative Mood, and Suicidal Ideation

Yosef Sokol, MA, and Edouard Eisenheim, PhD

Published: January 21, 2016

Article Abstract

Objective: To examine the relationship between continuous identity and a measure of depression, anxiety, and stress as well as suicidal ideation using 2 validated measures of continuous identity.

Method: A total of 246 subjects recruited from the Amazon Mechanical Turk subject pool who completed a full survey in November 2014 were included in the analyses. Stress, anxiety, and depression severity were measured using the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale. Continuous identity was measured with the Venn continuous identity task and the me/not me continuous identity task.

Results: Multiple regression analyses revealed continuous identity disturbances were significantly associated with depressed mood (R2 = 0.37, P < .01). Continuous identity also predicted suicide severity, even after controlling for demographic factors, negative life events, and depressed mood. Additionally, predictive discriminant analysis revealed continuous identity, depression severity, and negative life events correctly classified 74.1% of participants into high and low suicide risk groups.

Conclusion: Lack of continuous identity predicted both depression and suicidality severity. Integration of perceived identities may be a worthwhile goal for behavioral interventions aimed at reducing depressed mood and suicidality.

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