Suicide Risk, Stress Sensitivity, and Self-Esteem among Young Adults Reporting Auditory Hallucinations

Jordan E. DeVylder, Matthew R. Hilimire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Individuals with subthreshold psychotic experiences are at increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behavior, similar to those with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. This may be explained by shared risk factors such as heightened stress sensitivity or low self-esteem. Understanding the nature of this relationship could inform suicide prevention in social work practice. In this study, authors examined the relationship between self-reported auditory hallucinations and suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts, in a nonclinical sample of young adults, controlling for scores on the Psychological Stress Index and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Auditory hallucinations were associated with approximately double the odds of suicidal ideation and plans and four times the odds for suicide attempts. This relationship was not explained by stress sensitivity or self-esteem, which were independently related to hallucinations and suicidality, respectively. Subthreshold auditory hallucinations may be a useful indicator of suicide risk. This association may represent a clinically significant relationship that may be addressed through social work interventions intended to alleviate stress sensitivity or improve self-esteem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-182
Number of pages8
JournalHealth and Social Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • psychosis
  • psychotic experience
  • self-esteem
  • stress
  • suicide attempts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)


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