Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Psychology, Clinical.




The purpose of this study was to examine the role of hostility and direction of hostility, with particular emphasis on inwardly directed hostility in suicide attempt. The study proceeded by addressing the following issues: (a) relationship between inwardly directed hostility and suicide intent, (b) relationship between inwardly directed hostility, depression, and suicide intent, and (c) relationship between diagnosis, level of hostility and direction of hostility. The sample consisted of 100 participants who belonged to one of four groups: (a) inpatient suicide-attempters, (b) outpatient suicide-attempters, (c) inpatient depressives, and (d) non-clinical controls. All participants were assessed on the Gottschalk-Gleser Content Analysis Scales, Hostility and Direction of Hostility Questionnaire, and the Beck Depression Inventory. All suicide attempters were rated on a Suicide Intent Scale. Results indicated a strong positive relationship between inwardly directed hostility and suicide intent. This positive relationship remained even after controlling for the effects of depression. Similarly, inwardly directed hostility significantly predicted suicide intent scores beyond the combined effects of age, sex, social status, substance abuse, and depression. Measures of outwardly directed hostility such as, Criticism of Others and Extra-punitiveness scales, also correlated with Suicide Intent scores but in a negative direction. In comparison to non-attempter unipolar depressives, a subgroup of attempters diagnosed with personality disorder (borderline, antisocial, histrionic) were significantly more hostile, showed more extra-punitiveness and urge to act out hostility, and exhibited more overtly hostile verbal content, in spite of even higher depression scores. Younger age was associated with outwardly directed hostility: when controlled for age, differences in direction of hostility between the personality disordered attempters and non-attempter depressed groups disappeared. In the suicide-attempt group, the Beck Depression scores correlated positively with Suicide Intent scores, as well as with measures of outwardly and inwardly directed hostility. Similarly, in the comparison between suicide attempters and non-clinical controls Beck Depression scores showed a significant interaction with overall level of hostility and direction of hostility. The suicide-attempters were significantly more hostile and showed more inwardly directed hostility than the non-clinical group, however, when controlled for depression scores, differences on these hostility measures disappeared. The implications of these findings for future research and clinical practice are discussed.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1992 .S933. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 54-05, Section: B, page: 2775. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1992.