PTSD severity tied to suicidality
Severity of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) appears to be indirectly linked to suicidality, particularly self-reported desire to commit suicide, a new study has found.
In a sample of 105 adults (mean age 33.9±10.9 years; 55.2 percent female) who were admitted in an acute-care psychiatric inpatient hospital, the mean PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version-5 (PCL-5) score was 40.2±21.5, suggesting high levels of PTSD symptoms.
The mean number of traumatic events in the sample was 5.3±3.1, the most common type of which was physical assault, observed in 62.9 percent. This was followed by transportation accidents (61.2 percent) and natural disasters (59.0 percent).
Mediation analysis was then performed to determine the role of perceived distress tolerance, as measured by the Distress Tolerance Scale (DTS), in the relationship between severity of PTSD symptoms and suicidality, defined as suicidal behaviour leading to admission, self-reported suicidal desire and proportion of suicidal days during hospitalization.
Mediation models showed that DTS was significantly negatively associated with suicidality as a basis for hospital admission (β, -0.86; p=0.002) and Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation (BSS-5) score (β, -0.96; p<0.001).
Notably PCL-5 showed substantial indirect associations with suicidal tendencies as a basis for admission (β, 0.43) and BSS-5 (β, 0.41). DTS was a mediating factor in both cases.
In contrast, the direct (p=0.45) and total (p=0.04) effects of PCL-5 on suicidal intention as a basis for hospitalization were not significant. By comparison, only the total effect path between PCL-5 and BSS-5 was significant (p<0.001).