Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Kyle De Young


The Interpersonal-Psychological Theory on Suicidal Behavior (IPTS; Joiner,

2005; Joiner, Ribeiro, & Silva, 2012), proposes that active suicidal ideation is formed when an individual experiences high perceived burdensomeness, low perceived belongingness, and hopelessness (Joiner et al., 2012). Eating disorders (ED) are associated with high mortality rates from suicide (Harris & Barraclough, 1997), and recently researchers have begun applying IPTS to ED symptomatology (Smith et al., 2013; Dodd, Smith, & Bodell, 2014). In particular, purging-type EDs are associated with increased risk for suicide (Fedorowicz et al., 2007; Milos, Spindler, Hepp, & Schnyder, 2004; Protzky, van Heeringen, & Vervaet, 2014). Thus, the current study used a multiple mediation analysis with bias-corrected bootstrap confidence intervals to test the hypothesis that change in perceived burdensomeness, perceived belongingness, and hopelessness over five weeks mediated the relationship between purging pathology and the change in suicidal ideation over 10 weeks in an undergraduate sample (N = 171). Results indicated no significant indirect effects (i.e., all 95% CI’s contained 0, p > .05). Limitations of the study include small sample size and low power for detecting effects, little variability within study variables, and use of a primarily female and ethnically White sample of undergraduate students. Future directions include rigorous testing in longitudinal samples of the role purging pathology might play in the formation of an

acquired capability for suicide (i.e., higher pain tolerance, low fear of death).