Category: PTSD

Symposium

Trauma-Related Guilt Mediates the Relationship Between PTSD Symptoms and Suicidal Ideation Among Veterans

Friday, November 17
1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom E & F, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: PTSD Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Cognitive Schemas / Beliefs | Suicide
Presentation Type: Symposium

Suicide rates have more than doubled among military personnel since the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at high risk for suicidal behavior (i.e., suicidal ideation, plans, or attempts) and death by suicide. Guilt has been associated with both PTSD and suicidal ideation (SI) and may be an important link between these constructs.  The present study compared models of trauma-related guilt and examined the direct and indirect effects of PTSD and trauma-related guilt on SI among veterans receiving treatment for PTSD (N = 988). Results showed that guilt-cognitions and global guilt provided the best model fit. PTSD and trauma-related guilt had direct effects on SI, and PTSD exhibited indirect effects on SI via trauma-related guilt. Although cross-sectional data limits the ability to make causal inferences, the results suggested that guilt, particularly guilt cognitions, may be an effective intervention point for reducing SI among veterans with PTSD.

Katherine C. Cunningham

VA Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center

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