Associations between clinicians' emotion regulation, treatment recommendations, and patient suicidal ideation

Shira Barzilay, Amanda Gagnon, Zimri S. Yaseen, Lakshmi Chennapragada, Lauren Lloveras, Sarah Bloch-Elkouby, Igor Galynker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examines how clinicians' emotional responses to suicidal patients and their emotion regulation abilities are related to their treatment recommendations for these patients and to patients' concurrent suicidal ideation and at one-month follow-up. Methods: Adult psychiatric outpatients (N = 361) and the mental health professionals evaluating them for treatment (N = 43) completed self-report assessments following their first clinical meeting. Clinician emotion regulation traits, emotional responses to individual patients, and the recommended intensity of treatment were assessed. Patients were assessed for suicidal ideation immediately following the initial meeting and at a one-month follow-up. Moderation and mediation analyses were performed to examine the relationships between study variables. Results: Patient suicidal ideation at the initial clinical encounter was associated with increased negative emotions in clinicians with lower emotion regulation. Further, recommended treatment intensity was associated with clinicians' negative emotional responses but not with patient suicidal ideation among clinicians with lower emotion regulation. Conclusions: Treatment intensification is related to clinicians' emotion regulation abilities. Clinicians' attention to their emotional responses may facilitate improved treatment process and ultimately may improve suicidal outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-340
Number of pages12
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the focus grant # RFA‐1‐015‐14 from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Dr. Barzilay's work is funded by the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The American Association of Suicidology.


  • TRQ-SF
  • countertransference
  • risk assessment
  • suicidal ideation
  • suicide
  • suicide prevention


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