Anxiety sensitivity and suicidal ideation/suicide risk: A meta-analysis. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: Suicide is a global public health concern. To inform the prevention and treatment of suicidality, it is crucial to identify transdiagnostic vulnerability factors for suicide and suicide-related conditions. One candidate factor is anxiety sensitivity (AS)-the fear of anxiety-related sensations-which has been implicated in the pathogenesis of a host of mental health outcomes, including suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Importantly, AS is distinct from trait anxiety and negative affectivity, highlighting its potential incremental utility in the understanding of psychopathology. Despite a burgeoning body of literature demonstrating that AS is linked to suicidal thoughts and behaviors, this research has yet to be synthesized. METHOD: This meta-analysis includes 33 articles representing 34 nonredundant samples (N = 14,002) that examined at least one relationship between AS global or subfactor (i.e., cognitive, physical, social) scores and suicidal ideation and/or suicide risk. RESULTS: Findings revealed small-to-moderate and moderate associations between global AS and suicidal ideation (r = .24, 95% confidence interval (CI): [.21, .26], p < .001) and suicide risk (r = .35, 95% CI [.31, .38], p < .001), respectively. All AS subfactors evinced significant associations with suicidal ideation (rs = .13-.24) and suicide risk (rs = .22-.32). CONCLUSIONS: AS is related to suicidal ideation and global suicide risk. Research is needed to disentangle AS from other indices of distress in the prediction of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Theoretical and clinical implications of these findings are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

published proceedings

  • J Consult Clin Psychol

altmetric score

  • 0.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Stanley, I. H., Boffa, J. W., Rogers, M. L., Hom, M. A., Albanese, B. J., Chu, C., ... Joiner, T. E.

citation count

  • 72

complete list of authors

  • Stanley, Ian H||Boffa, Joseph W||Rogers, Megan L||Hom, Melanie A||Albanese, Brian J||Chu, Carol||Capron, Daniel W||Schmidt, N Brad||Joiner, Thomas E

publication date

  • November 2018