Interoceptive deficits differentiate suicide groups and associate with self-injurious thoughts and behaviors in a military sample

April R. Smith, Dorian R. Dodd, Shelby Ortiz, Lauren N. Forrest, Tracy K. Witte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: Previous research shows that interoceptive deficits are associated with harmful behaviors such as nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI), eating disorder pathology, and suicide attempts. The present study replicates and extends this area of research by examining the association between interoceptive deficits and suicidality in a military sample. Method: In Study 1, respondents to an online survey (N = 134) answered self-report questionnaires related to interoceptive deficits. Study 2 consisted of a secondary data analysis of 3,764 military service members who had previously completed questionnaires on interoceptive indicators, NSSI, suicide thoughts and attempts, and other psychopathology. Results: Study 1 demonstrated that our interoceptive deficits latent variable had adequate psychometric properties. In Study 2, multigroup confirmatory factor analysis showed that scores on the interoceptive deficits latent variable were highest among suicide attempters, lowest among those with no suicide history, and intermediary among participants who had thought about but not attempted suicide. The interoceptive deficits latent variable was more strongly related to NSSI and suicidality than were posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, hopelessness, gender, and age. Conclusions: These results confirm—and extend to a military sample—previous research showing that interoceptive deficits can provide important information about suicide risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)472-489
Number of pages18
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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