Crucial research about suicidal thoughts and behaviors is often done in a cross-sectional manner that only considers limited risk factors. This research is limited in scope and rarely produces meaningful results to inform treatment. This study uses a longitudinal design to follow 93 participants over approximately 6 months. Participants are individuals with autism and social anxiety who were part of high-risk groups for suicidality, sleep problems, and social isolation. Participants recorded their sleep patterns and suicidal thoughts daily via the phone app MetricWire and continuously wore a GENEActiv actigraphy device to tract their objective sleep patterns. The Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS): Baseline/Screening Version, C- SSRS: Since Last Visit Version; The Insomnia Severity Index (ISI); The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI); and The Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Level 2 Sleep Disturbance Adult Form were used to characterize the sample population. Data were analyzed using a longitudinal multilevel regression design. Findings indicate that perceived sleep quality was negatively correlated to suicide ideation over time. Self- reported sleep duration, gender, and Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) score were not significant predictors of suicidal ideation over time. Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale-Self Report (LSAS) score was positively correlated to suicide ideation. Clinical implications of these findings suggest a renewed effort must be made to assess for suicidality in persons reporting social anxiety and that effective intervention to improve sleep quality could reduce suicidal ideation.
College and Department
David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Regehr, Lindsay Jacalyn, "A Longitudinal Look: How Sleep Impacts Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors in Autism and Social Anxiety" (2023). Theses and Dissertations. 9890.
suicide, sleep problems, autism, social anxiety