Suicidal behaviors result from a complex interaction between social stressors and individual vulnerability. Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) provides the opportunity to investigate the relationship between social stressors in daily life and the occurrence of negative thoughts leading to suicidal ideation. fMRI showed that a neural network supports the sensitivity to social stressors in suicide attempters.
A joint fMRI/EMA study investigated whether individual differences in brain reactivity to scanner-based social rejection was related to social rejection during real-world social interactions.
Sixty women were included: euthymic women with a history of depression with or without suicidal behavior and healthy controls. The Cyberball Game was used as a social exclusion paradigm. Following the fMRI, subjects used EMA for seven days, providing data on environmental, contextual and emotional factors.
In the fMRI study, in comparison to patients without any history of suicide attempt and healthy controls, suicide attempters showed decreased activation in the posterior cingulate cortex, insula and superior temporal gyrus during the exclusion vs. inclusion condition. In the EMA study, social stressors were specific predictors of suicidal ideation in suicide attempters. We will examine here if individuals who show greater activity in specific brain regions during scanner-based social rejection reported a greater social distress during their daily social interactions.
this study used a combined technique to assess whether neural reactivity to experimental social rejection in the scanner is related to real-world social experience, and if it may help to understand the sensitivity to social stress in suicidal behavior.
The authors declare that they have no competing interest.