The moderating role of belongingness in the contribution of depression to suicide ideation following the October 7, 2023, terrorist attack in Israel: A nationwide prospective study

Yossi Levi-Belz, Yael Shoval-Zuckerman, Carmel Blank, Yoav Groweiss, Yuval Neria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: With >1300 civilians murdered, the terrorist attack of October 7 is one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in modern history. Previous research documented a sharp increase in depression in the aftermath of the attacks and the military conflict that followed. In this national prospective cohort study, we examined to what extent perceived belongingness (PB) moderates the association between depression and suicide ideation (SI) in the wake of the October 7th terrorist attack. Methods: A representative sample of 710 Israeli adults (of them, 362 females, 51.1 %), Jews (557, 79.9 %), and Arabs (153, 20.1 %), aged 18–85 (M = 41.01, SD = 13.72) completed questionnaires assessing depression, current SI, and perceived belongingness at two timepoints: T1 (in August 2023) and T2 (in November 2023). Results: Perceived belongingness at T1 predicted SI at T2 beyond demographic and trauma-related characteristics. Importantly, we found a significant interaction in which a PB at T1 moderated the link between depression and current SI at T2. Specifically, the level of depression at T2 contributed to current SI-T2 more strongly for individuals with low PB levels than for individuals with high PB levels. Discussion: Our study highlights the impact of PB on SI following the October 7th terrorist attack. Clinicians treating individuals coping with depression should attend to their patients' sense of belongingness, as low PB comprises a significant risk factor for current SI. Moreover, community and national initiatives that could increase levels of PB among the citizens may help to diminish suicide risk in the aftermath of the attack.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-299
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume356
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Belongingness
  • Depression
  • Prospective
  • Suicide ideation
  • Terror attack

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The moderating role of belongingness in the contribution of depression to suicide ideation following the October 7, 2023, terrorist attack in Israel: A nationwide prospective study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this