Title

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Suicidal Ideation, Plans, and Impulses: The Mediating Role of Anxiety Sensitivity Cognitive Concerns Among Veterans

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-2017

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Background

Although the relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicide has been firmly established, research on underlying mechanisms has been disproportionately low. The cognitive concerns subscale of anxiety sensitivity (AS), which reflects fears of cognitive dyscontrol, has been linked to both PTSD and suicide and thus may serve as an explanatory mechanism between these constructs.

Methods

The sample consisted of 60 male veterans presenting to an outpatient Veteran Affairs (VA) clinic for psychological services. Upon intake, veterans completed a diagnostic interview and brief battery of self-report questionnaires to assist with differential diagnosis and treatment planning.

Results

Results revealed a significant association between PTSD symptom severity and higher suicidality (i.e., ideation, plans, and impulses), even after accounting for relevant demographic and psychological constructs. Moreover, AS cognitive concerns mediated this association.

Limitations

Limitations include the small sample size and cross-sectional nature of the current study.

Conclusions

These findings add considerably to a growing body of literature examining underlying mechanisms that may help to explain the robust associations between PTSD and suicide. Considering the malleable nature of AS cognitive concerns, research is needed to determine the extent to which reductions in this cognitive risk factor are associated with reductions in suicide among at risk samples, such as those included in the present investigation.

Publication Title

Journal of Affective Disorders

Volume

222

First Page

57

Last Page

62

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