HEALTH / WELL-BEING

An examination of PTSD symptoms and their effects on suicidal ideation and behavior in non-treatment seeking veterans

February, 2019
Article:

This paper explores the effect of post traumatic stress disorder symptoms on suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviour in veterans.

Abstract

This study sought to examine the effect of general PTSD symptoms as well as specific PTSD symptom clusters on suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts. We first compared a correlated factors solution consistent with the DSM-5 symptom clusters for PTSD with a bifactor solution comprising a General PTSD factor and orthogonal specific factors. Using the best fitting model (i.e., bifactor solution), we then investigated the effect of specific PTSD symptom clusters on severity of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts above and beyond the effect of general PTSD symptoms. A sample of 773 veterans who have never sought professional mental health treatment were screened for suicidal ideation within the past two weeks. One month after the baseline measurement, the participants completed a follow-up assessment, again by telephone. A bi-factor solution was used to account for a general PTSD factor as well as the specific DSM-5 PTSD symptom clusters. After controlling for baseline suicidal ideation and behavior, it appeared that the Anxious Arousal factor was predictive of changes in the magnitude of severity of suicidal ideation and the General PTSD factor was predictive of the onset of new suicidal behavior at the one-month follow-up. Additionally, the Re-experiencing factor of PTSD also significantly predicted new suicidal behavior at the one-month follow-up. These results suggest that it may beneficial for clinicians, who are assessing individuals with PTSD for suicidality, to be aware of the frequency, duration, and content of their clients’ repetitive, intrusive thoughts as these thoughts may increase their capability to inflict non-lethal or lethal forms of self-injury.

Full Reference

Law, K. C., Allan, N. P., Kolnogorova, K. and Stecker, T., 2019. An examination of PTSD symptoms and their effects on suicidal ideation and behavior in non-treatment seeking veterans. Psychiatry Research, 274, pp. 12-19.

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