Assessing Longitudinal Relationships among Thwarted Belongingness, Perceived Burdensomeness, and Eating Disorder Symptoms.
OBJECTIVE: Past work has documented a cross-sectional relationship between eating disorders (ED) and suicidality, but few studies have examined the directionality of this relationship. Informed by the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide (IPTS), this study examines the bidirectional, longitudinal relationship between ED symptoms and two determinants of suicide ideation-thwarted belongingness (TB) and perceived burdensomeness (PB). METHOD: Ninety-two treatment-seeking individuals with ED (94.5% White, 95.6% female) completed baseline (T1) measures of ED symptoms along with TB and PB. Of those, 75 (81.5%) completed a follow-up assessment eight weeks later (T2). RESULTS: Separate linear regression models revealed that T1 ED symptoms did not predict T2 TB (b = .03, p = .42) or T2 PB (b = -.01, p = .68). Similarly, T1 TB did not predict T2 ED symptoms (b = .25, p = .37). T1 PB did significantly predict T2 ED symptoms (b = 0.52, p = .04). Further, among participants with AN/sub-AN, T1 TB and PB predicted T2 ED symptoms (p's ≤ .03). CONCLUSION: Our results reveal the need for a nuanced understanding of the relationship between ED and suicidality. This study found that PB predicts greater ED symptoms and, among the AN/sub-AN sample, TB does as well.