Is camouflaging autistic traits associated with defeat, entrapment and suicidal thoughts? Expanding the Integrated Motivational-Volitional Model of Suicide

Sarah Cassidy, Emily McLaughlin, Rachel McGranaghan, Mirabel Pelton, Rory O'Connor, Jacqui Rodgers

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    Abstract

    Introduction: The current study explored whether camouflaging autistic traits is associated with defeat and entrapment and lifetime suicidal thoughts, as predicted by the Integrated Volitional Model of Suicide (IMV model).Methods: 180 UK undergraduate students (76.7% female 18– 67 years) completed a cross- sectional online survey from February 5 to March 23, 2020, including self- report measures of defeat and entrapment (SDES), autistic traits (AQ- 10), depression (PHQ- 9), anxiety (GAD- 7), camouflaging autistic traits (CAT- Q), and lifetime suicidal thoughts and behaviours (SBQ- R item 1).Results: After controlling for age, gender, current depression, and anxiety symptoms, autistic traits accounted for significantly more of the variance in defeat and entrapment (1.1%), and camouflaging accounted for a further 3.2% of the variance. The association between autistic traits and lifetime suicidality was significantly mediated by camouflaging, defeat, and entrapment. After controlling for age, gender, current depression, and anxiety symptoms, defeat and entrapment (but not camouflaging) accounted for significantly more variance in lifetime suicidal thoughts. The interaction between camouflaging, defeat and entrapment predicted significantly less variance in lifetime suicidal thoughts than either variable alone. Conclusion: Results suggest that camouflaging autistic traits is a transdiagnostic risk factor for lifetime suicidality, relevant to the defeat and entrapment con-structs of the IMV model.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)572-585
    Number of pages14
    JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
    Volume53
    Issue number4
    Early online date2 May 2023
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

    Funder

    Economic and Social Research Council. Grant Number: ES/N000501/2

    Keywords

    • autism spectrum conditions
    • autistic traits
    • broader autism phenotype
    • camouflaging
    • defeat
    • entrapment
    • Integrated Motivational–Volitional model of suicide
    • masking
    • suicidality
    • suicide

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