The present study aimed to explore the electrophysiological correlates involved in three‐dimensional psychological pain and their relationship with suicide in patients with major depressive disorder.
The sample comprised 23 and nine patients with major depressive disorder with high and low risk for suicide, respectively, and 24 healthy controls. All participants completed the measurements and performed an event‐related potential‐based analogue of the affective incentive delay task. The event‐related potential components previously associated with motivationally salient cue (contingent negative variation, P2, and cue‐P3), target (target‐P3), and feedback (reward vs. punishment, feedback‐related negativity, and feedback‐P3) stimuli were examined.
All inventory scores differed significantly among the high‐risk, low‐risk, and healthy control groups. During the expectant phase, the main effect of group and interaction between group and condition was significant in the average amplitudes of the cue‐P2 component. During the feedback phase, the feedback‐P3 elicited by positive feedback had a significant main effect of group and of the interaction between group and condition. Specifically, the feedback‐P3 elicited by negative feedback in the punitive condition showed significant positive correlations with the total and subscale scores on the Three‐Dimensional Psychological Pain Scale.
Feedback‐P3 may be an electrobiological component underlying the processing of psychological pain in suicidality.