Test of the Interpersonal Suicide Theory (IPTS) on Iranian Students: the role of thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomness on Suicidal Desire and suicidal attempt

Document Type : Original Article


1 PhD Student, Department of Psychology, University of Science and Culture, Tehran, Iran

2 Professor, Department of Psychology, Seminary and University Research Institute, Qom, Iran

3 Professor, Department of Psychology, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

4 Behavioral Sciences Research Center, Department of Clinical Psychology, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: Suicidal behaviors are considered as one of the mental health problems .The interpersonal theory of suicide has provided a promising perspective for understanding suicide behavior.Since the patterns of suicidal behavior and related interventions are not the same for all cultural groups, this study aimed to answer the question of whether the interpersonal model of suicide is also fited in Iranian cultural context. Method: The purpose of this study was descriptive-correlational in terms of the purpose of fundamental research and in terms of data collection method which was done on 400 students of Mashhad University using Beck Suicide Thought Scale (BSSI). Interpersonal Suicide Needs (INQ) was administered in the 2016-2017 academic year and path analysis were used to analyze the data. Results: Data analysis showed that the perceived burdensomeness coefficient to suicidal thoughts was 0.58, also significant by the t-test (p <0.05, t = 13.32) and the coefficient of thwarted belongingness path coefficient was 0.12. And is statistically significant (t = 2.65, p <0.05). 78% of the variance in suicide attempt scores was explained by two exogenous variables and one mediator variable namely perceived overburden, unaccompanied suicide and suicidal thoughts; 41% of the variance in suicidal thoughts scores through perceived overload and unaccompanied suicidal ideation. Conclusion: The interpersonal model of suicide in Iranian society is well matched .so it can be used in clinical and therapeutic settings to assess suicide risk factors and suicidal tendency in individuals.


1. Wang L, He  CZ, Yu  YM, Qiu  XH, Yang X, Qiao ZX, Yang YJ. Associations between impulsivity, aggression, and suicide in Chinese college students. BMC public health.2014; 14(1), 551.
2. Silverman M, Berman AL, Sanddal ND, O’Carroll  PW, Joiner T E. Rebuilding the Tower of Babel: A revised nomenclature for the study of suicide and suicidal behaviors: Part II: Suicide-related ideations, communications and behaviors. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.2007; 37: 264–277.
3. Steer R. Kumar G. Beck A. Self-reported suicidal ideation in adolescent psychiatric inpatients. J Consult Clin Psychol, 1993; 61(6):1096-99.
4. Sadok B J, Sadok  AP. Psychiatry Summary: Behavioral Sciences / Clinical Psychiatry. Translated by Farzin Rezai. 2017;Tehran. Honorable Publications. [persion].
5. Bauman S, Toomey RB, Walker JL. suicide in high school students. Journal of adolescence.2017; 36(2): 341-350.
6. Mitchell J. College Students’ Knowledge of Suicide Risk Factors and Prevention Strategies.Journal of College Student Psychotherapy.2017; 27(3): 212-225.
7. Kazemi-Galougahi M, Mansouri A, Akbarpour  S, Bakhtiyari M, Sartipi M, Moradzade R. Income-related inequality in completed suicide across the provinces of Iran. Journal of epidemiology and health.2017;40. [ persion].
8. Yasemi M, Sabahi A, MirHashimi M, Seif SH, Azarkivan P, Taheri M. Suicide epidemiology through forensic medicine in Kerman. Journal of Thought and Behavior.2002;7(4). [ persion].
9. Tararmian F, Yaghoubi H. Comprehensive Prevention and Intervention Program in Suicide Behavior in Academic Sites. Youth Affairs Organization. Office of Counseling and Mental Health.2018; 3. [ persion].
10. Van orden KA, Witte TK, Cukrowicz KC, Braithwaite SR,  Selby EA, Joiner TE. The interpersonal theory of suicide. Psychol. Rev.2010; 117(2): 575–600.
11. Joiner, TE. Why people die by suicide. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 2005
12. Joiner TE, Van Orden K A, Witte TK,  Selby E A, Ribeiro J, Lewis  R, Rudd MD. Main predictions of the interpersonal– psychological theory of suicidal behavior: Empirical tests in two samples of young adults. Journal of Abnormal Psychology.2009; 118: 634–646.
13. Vanorden KA, Witte TK, Gordon KH,  Bender TW,  Joiner TE. Suicidal desire and the capability for suicide: Tests of the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behavior among adults. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2008;76:72–83.
14. Christensen H, Batterham PJ, Mackinnon AJ, Donker T, Soubelet A. Predictors of the risk factors for suicide identified by the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behaviour. Psychiatry Res.2014;219(2):290–297.
15. Fink-Miller EL. An examination of the interpersonal psychological theory of suicidal behavior in physicians. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. 2015; 45(4):488–494.
16. Cukrowicz KC, Cheavens JS, Van Orden KA, Ragain RM, Cook RL. Perceived burdensomeness and suicide ideation in older adults. Psychology and Aging. 2011; 26(2):331–338.
17. Davidson CL, Wingate LR,  Rasmussen KA, Slish ML. Hope as a predictor of interpersonal suicide risk. Suicide and Life-threatening Behavior.2009;39(5): 499–507.
18. Joiner TE, Van Orden  KA, Witte  TK, Selby  E A, Ribeiro J, Lewis  R, Rudd MD. Main predictions of the interpersonal psychological theory of suicidal behavior: Empirical tests in two samples of young adults. Journal of Abnormal Psychology.2015; 118: 634–646
19. Hill RM, Rey Y, Marin CE, Sharp C, Green K L, Pettit JW. Evaluating the Interpersonal Needs Questionnaire: Comparison of the reliability, factor structure, and predictive validity across five versions., 45. Suicide Life-Threatening Behav. 2015;45:302–314.
20. Wachtel S, Vocks S, Edel MA, Nyhuis P, Willutzki U, Teismann T. Validation and psychometric properties of the German capability for suicide questionnaire.Compr.Psychiatry2017;55(5):1292–1302.
21. O’Connor RC, Nock MK. The psychology of suicidal behaviour. Lancet Psychiatry. 2014;1(1):73–85.
22. Ma J, Batterham PJ, Calear AL, Han J. A systematic review of the predictions of the Interpersonal Psychological Theory of Suicidal Behaviour. Clin Psychol Rev.2016; Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2016.04.008
23. Bryan CJ, Hernandez AM, Allison S, Clemans T. Combat exposure and suicide risk in two samples of military personnel. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 2013a; 69(1):64–77.
24. Hosseini AS, Moradi AS, Pejvand AS. Psychological Factors of Suicide Attempt in Iranian Students. Journal of Psychological Studies.2006; 2 (1): 33-49. [persion].
25. Panaghi L,  Abadi Z, Pirvi  H, Abol Masoumi  F. Students' suicide trend between 2003 and 2008. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology. 2010; 16 (2): 98-87. [persion].
26. Pourhossein R, Farhoudi F, Amiri M, Jan Bozorgi  M, Nourollahi  F. Investigating the relationship between suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, resilience, Daily stress and mental health in Tehran University students. J Clin Psychol Stud. 2014; 14(4) .[ persion].
27. Movahedi M, AbbasiMachinist, N, Interrogator z. Predicting students' suicidal tendency based on religiosity, social support, family atmosphere, and depression. Culture in Islamic University. 2013; 3 (1 & 6): 103-106. [persion].
28. Birami M,  Eqbali  AS, Ghalizadeh h. The Interaction of Personality Factors with Depression, Despair, and Suicidal Thoughts among Students. Medical Journal of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences. 2012; 33 (1): 28-33. [persion].
29. Asadi H, Hosseini Razi S, Jalili P. Predicting the suicide risk of students based on religious beliefs, social support, coping strategies and public health. Quarterly Journal of Applied Psychology. 2012; 6 (4 and 24): 87-101. [persion].
30. Bakhtar M, Rezaian M. Prevalence of thoughts and suicide attempts and related risk factors in Iranian students: a systematic review. Journal of Rafsanjan University of Medical Sciences. 2016; 15 (11): 1061-1076.[ persion].
31. Danitz M. Suicide an unnecessary death. London: UK. 2001.
32. Anisi J, Fathi Ashtiani A, Salimi S, Ahmadi Nodeh Kh. Validity and Reliability Assessment of Beck's Suicide Thought Scale (BSSI) in Soldiers. Journal of Military Medicine. 2005;7(1): 33-37. [persion].
33. Van Orden KA, Cukrowicz KC, Witte TK, Joiner TE. Thwarted Belongingness and perceived burdensomeness: Construct validity and psychometric properties of the Interpersonal Needs Questionnaire. Psychol Assess, 2012; 24(1), 197–215.
34. Alizadeh birjandi Z, Janbozorgi  M, Rasoulzadeh Tabatabai S.K, Fathi Ashtiani A. The Factor Structure, Reliability, and Validity of the Persian Version of the Suicidal Desire Scale Based on Interpersonal Suicide Theory (IPTS) in Iranian Students. Clinical Psychology Research and Counseling. 2020. (In press). [persion].
35. Kline RB. Principles and Practice of Structural Equation Modeling.2005. (Third Ed).
36. World Health Organization. Suicide Prevention.Lastaccessed10/12/201.2013./⟨http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suicideprevent/en/
37. Littlewood. D, Kyle D, Pratt S, Peters P. Examining the role of psychological factors in the relationship between sleep problems and suicide Clinical Psychology Review. 2017; 54 (2017) 1–16
38. Klonsky ED, May AM, Saffer BY. Suicide, suicide attempts, and suicidal ideation. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. 2016; 12(1) annurev-clinpsy-021815-093204.
39. Chu C, Buchman-schmitt JM, Stanley IH, Melanie A, Tucker RP, Ph D, et al. The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of a Decade of Cross-National Research. 2018;143(12):1313–45.
40. Chu C, Hom MA, Rogers ML, Ringer FB, Hames JL, Suh S, Joiner TE. Is Insomnia Lonely? Exploring thwarted belongingness as an explanatory link between insomnia and suicidal ideation in a sample of South Korean university students. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 2016b; 12(5):647–652.
41. Monteith LL, Menefee DS, Pettit JW, Leopoulos WL, Vincent JP. Examining the interpersonal–psychological theory of suicide in an inpatient veteran sample. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. 2013; 43(4):418–428.
42. Smith PN, Cukrowicz KC. Capable of suicide: A functional model of the acquired capability component of the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. 2010a; 40(3)
43. Hagan CR, Podlogar MC, Chu C, Joiner TE. Testing the interpersonal theory of suicide: The moderating role of hopelessness. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy. 2015; 8(2):99–113.
44. Chu C, Buchman-Schmitt JM, Hom MA, Stanley IH, Joiner TE. A test of the interpersonal theory of suicide in a large sample of current firefighters. Psychiatry research. 2016a; 240:26–33.