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Cunningham KC, Grossmann JL, Seay KB, Dennis PA, Clancy CP, Hertzberg MA, Berlin K, Ruffin RA, Dedert EA, Gratz KL, Calhoun PS, Beckham JC, Kimbrel NA. Nonsuicidal Self-Injury and Borderline Personality Features as Risk Factors for Suicidal Ideation Among Male Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Journal of traumatic stress. 2019 Feb 1; 32(1):141-147.
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Abstract: U.S. veterans are at increased risk for suicide compared to their civilian counterparts and account for approximately 20% of all deaths by suicide. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality features (BPF) have each been associated with increased suicide risk. Additionally, emerging research suggests that nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) may be a unique risk factor for suicidal behavior. Archival data from 728 male veterans with a PTSD diagnosis who were receiving care through an outpatient Veterans Health Administration (VHA) specialty PTSD clinic were analyzed. Diagnosis of PTSD was based on a structured clinical interview administered by trained clinicians. A subscale of the Personality Assessment Inventory was used to assess BPF, and NSSI and suicidal ideation (SI) were assessed by self-report. Findings revealed that NSSI (58.8%) and BPF (23.5%) were both relatively common in this sample of male veterans with PTSD. As expected, each condition was associated with significantly increased odds of experiencing SI compared to PTSD alone, odds ratios (ORs) = 1.2-2.6. Moreover, co-occurring PTSD, NSSI, and BPF were associated with significantly increased odds of experiencing SI compared with PTSD, OR = 5.68; comorbid PTSD and NSSI, OR = 2.57; and comorbid PTSD and BPF, OR = 2.13. The present findings provide new insight into the rates of NSSI and BPF among male veterans with PTSD and highlight the potential importance of these factors in suicide risk.