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Self-Contempt as a Predictor of Suicidality

A Longitudinal Study

Rüsch, Nicolas MD*; Oexle, Nathalie PhD*; Thornicroft, Graham MD, PhD; Keller, Johannes PhD; Waller, Christiane MD§; Germann, Ines*; Regelmann, Christina A.*; Noll-Hussong, Michael MD§,∥; Zahn, Roland MD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: December 2019 - Volume 207 - Issue 12 - p 1056–1057
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000001079
Brief Report

People with mental illness can internalize public prejudice and negative emotional reactions to their group, leading to self-contempt. This study examined self-contempt related to having a mental illness as predictor of suicidality among 77 people with mental illness in Southern Germany. Self-contempt, depressive symptoms, hopelessness, and suicidality were assessed at baseline; suicidality was measured again 3 months later. High self-contempt at baseline predicted increased suicidality at follow-up, adjusting for baseline suicidality, symptoms, diagnosis, age, sex, and hopelessness. These results suggest that self-contempt may be a risk factor for suicidality and call for specific interventions targeting self-stigma and its emotional consequences.

*Department of Psychiatry II, Ulm University and BKH Günzburg, Germany

Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, London, United Kingdom

Department of Social Psychology, Ulm University

§Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Ulm University Hospital, Ulm; and

Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Saarland University Medical Center, Homburg, Germany.

Send reprint requests to Nicolas Rüsch, MD, Department of Psychiatry II, Ulm University and BKH Günzburg, Parkstrasse 11, 89073 Ulm, Germany. E-mail:

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