The Role of Distress Intolerance In Suicidality Among Military Sexual Trauma Survivors

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Suicide is a growing public health concern, particularly among veterans. Notably, veterans who report experiencing a military sexual trauma (MST) are at even greater risk for suicide compared to those who do not. Research has implicated distress intolerance (DI), the perceived inability to withstand aversive emotional and somatic states, as an important risk factor for suicide. However, no research has examined the relationship between DI and suicidality among MST survivors. Thus, the purpose of the current study was to investigate the role of DI in suicidality (defined as suicidal thoughts, control of thoughts, plans, and impulses) using an outpatient sample of MST survivors. The sample included 64 veterans presenting for psychological services to an MST specialty clinic at a large southeastern Veterans Affairs hospital. As part of their intake evaluation, veterans completed a brief battery of self-report questionnaires to assist with diagnostic clarification and treatment planning. Results revealed a significant and positive relationship between DI and suicidality even after controlling for PTSD symptom severity. These findings suggest DI may play a key role in suicidality among MST survivors. Future research should seek to determine the extent to which reductions in DI result in subsequent reductions in suicidality among MST samples. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)

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