Rumination, a passive, repetitive perseveration on the causes, meaning, and consequences of one's distress, has been linked to suicidal ideation and behavior. Less is known, however, about which specific characteristics of rumination confer risk for suicide-related outcomes. This study examined associations between four features of rumination—frequency, duration, perceived controllability, and content—and current suicidal ideation, lifetime suicide plans, and lifetime suicide attempts. A sample of 548 adults (53.6% female, Mage = 36.54 years, 80.8% White/European American) recruited via Amazon's MTurk completed a battery of self-report measures online. The perceived controllability of rumination was uniquely associated with suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts, controlling for other characteristics of rumination, generalized worry, and demographic characteristics. Perceived controllability was also related to lifetime suicide plans and attempts above and beyond current suicidal ideation. Interpersonal and health-related content areas were also related to suicide-related outcomes, though these effects were inconsistent across outcome. Overall, perceived controllability over one's thoughts may be a key factor that confers risk along the suicidality continuum. Future research should replicate and extend these findings in diverse populations, using longitudinal designs, and with a variety of methodologies.
- Perceived control
- Repetitive thinking