Risk Factors of Suicidal Behaviors In a High-Rish Longitudinal Veteran Sample: A Network Analysis

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Introduction: Suicide is a substantial public health burden, particularly among veterans. Risk factors have been delineated for suicide; however, the dynamic interrelations between risk factors have not been fully examined. Such research has the potential to elucidate processes that contribute to suicide risk between individuals with a past suicide attempt (attempters) and those without a past suicide attempt (nonattempters).

Methods: In the current study, network analysis was used to compare networks between attempters and nonattempters in a high-risk veteran sample (N = 770; Mage = 32.3 years, SD = 6.8; 326 with a past suicide attempt) who were followed over 1 year. Networks were estimated to examine (1) concurrent relations of suicide risk factors at baseline and (2) predictability of prospective suicidal behavior (SB).

Results: There were no differences in the overall connectivity of attempter and nonattempter networks. Perceived burdensomeness and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms were most central in the attempters' network, whereas PTSD symptoms and insomnia were most central in the nonattempters' network. The risk factors prospective SB in either network. However, attempters were more likely to engage in SB over the course of the study.

Conclusion: These findings highlight the difficulty in predicting who will attempt suicide.

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Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior

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