Health Services Research & Development

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Cunningham KC, LoSavio ST, Dennis PA, Farmer C, Clancy CP, Hertzberg MA, Kimbrel NA, Calhoun PS, Beckham JC. Shame as a mediator between posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and suicidal ideation among veterans. Journal of affective disorders. 2019 Jan 15; 243:216-219.
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Abstract: BACKGROUND: Suicidal ideation is a problem that disproportionately affects veterans. Moreover, veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) appear to be at particularly high risk for suicide. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the present research was to examine whether shame mediates the association between PTSD and suicidal ideation. METHODS: Secondary analyses were conducted in a sample of 201 veterans with PTSD seeking care through an outpatient Veterans Affairs specialty PTSD clinic. RESULTS: Path analysis revealed that shame fully accounted for the effects of PTSD on suicidal ideation, suggesting that shame may represent a key link between PTSD and suicidal ideation among veterans. LIMITATIONS: Although the reverse mediation effect was also examined, the present sample was cross-sectional and predominantly male. CONCLUSIONS: The present findings suggest that shame may be an effective point of treatment intervention to reduce suicidal ideation among veterans with PTSD; however, additional prospective research is still needed to delineate the precise nature of these associations over time.