Desire for control and the integrated motivational-volitional model of suicidal behavior: results from a pilot investigation of adults in the United Kingdom

Neielle Saint-Cyr, Brendan Gallagher, Robert J Cramer, Susan Rasmussen

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Background: Suicidal behavior remains a pressing problem in the United Kingdom. Continued theory development is a critical step toward designing effective prevention.
Aims: The present study tested a novel element to suicide theory, the Desire for Control, for its direct and moderating roles within the Integrated Motivational-Volitional (IMV) Model of Suicidal Behavior.
Method: An online-administered cross-sectional suicide risk survey study (n=116) was conducted among adults living in the United Kingdom.
Results: Mean suicidal ideation scores were in the non-clinical range. DOC Leadership and Destiny Control were associated with good mental health. DOC Decision Avoidance was associated with poor mental health. DOC Decision Avoidance also acted as a motivational moderator in which the entrapment-suicidal thinking link was worse among those high in decisional avoidance.
Conclusion: DOC represents a novel, valuable addition to suicide theory and may inform suicide-specific psychotherapeutic intervention. Additional research is needed to full understand the role of DOC and its factor structures in the IMV.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Social Psychiatry
Early online date14 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Mar 2021


  • suicidal ideation
  • desire for control
  • integrated motivational-volitional model
  • entrapment
  • defeat

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