Reconnecting to Internal Sensation and Experiences: A Pilot Feasibility Study of an Online Intervention to Improve Interoception and Reduce Suicidal Ideation

April R. Smith, Lauren N. Forrest, Natalie M. Perkins, Shruti Kinkel-Ram, Michael J. Bernstein, Tracy K. Witte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Risk factors that are strongly associated with suicide and are amenable to intervention are in need of discovery. This three-study investigation demonstrates that an intervention designed to improve interoception—one potential suicide risk factor—may reduce suicide-related outcomes. Study 1 included 136 undergraduate participants and found that relative to a control condition, participating in a progressive muscle relaxation exercise was associated with reduced implicit identification with suicide through greater body trust, which is one domain of interoception that is consistently linked to suicide-related outcomes. Study 2 included 97 MTurk participants and found that relative to a control condition, participating in a body functionality writing exercise was associated with greater awareness of the body as a whole. Study 3 was a pilot study of a four-session online intervention designed to increase interoception. Study 3 included a sample of 22 clinical participants who completed pre- and postintervention assessments. Participants rated the intervention as highly acceptable and moderately effective. Moreover, the intervention was associated with improvements in interoception and reductions in suicidal ideation, general psychological symptoms, and disordered-eating symptoms. Overall, these findings indicate that our online interoceptive awareness training is acceptable and may be associated with improvements in clinical outcomes. Randomized controlled trials are needed to explore whether the intervention's purported mechanism—improved interoception—leads to changes in clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1145-1157
Number of pages13
JournalBehavior Therapy
Volume52
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology

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