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Acute vs. Chronic Stressors, Multiple Suicide Attempts, and Persistent Suicide Ideation in US Soldiers

Bryan, Craig J. PsyD, ABPP*†; Clemans, Tracy A. PhD*‡; Leeson, Bruce PhD§; Rudd, Michael David PhD, ABPP*∥

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: January 2015 - Volume 203 - Issue 1 - p 48–53
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000236
Original Articles

This study examined recent-onset (i.e., acute) and persistent (i.e., chronic) life stressors among 54 acutely suicidal US Army Soldiers and examined their relationship to persistence of suicidal crises over time. Soldiers with a history of multiple suicide attempts reported the most severe suicide ideation (F(2,51) = 4.18, p = 0.021) and the greatest number of chronic stressors (F(2,51) = 5.11, p = 0.009). Chronic but not acute stressors were correlated with severity of suicide ideation (r = 0.24, p = 0.026). Participants reporting low-to-average levels of chronic stress resolved suicide ideation during the 6-month follow-up, but participants reporting high levels of chronic stress did not (Wald χ2(1) = 4.57, p = 0.032). Soldiers who are multiple attempters report a greater number of chronic stressors. Chronic, but not acute-onset, stressors are associated with more severe and longer-lasting suicidal crises.

*National Center for Veterans Studies; †Department of Psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; ‡Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, TN; §Fort Carson, CO; ∥University of Memphis, TN.

Send reprint requests to Craig J. Bryan, PsyD, ABPP, National Center for Veterans Studies, University of Utah, 260 S Central Campus Dr, Room 205, Salt Lake City, UT 84112. E-mail:

© 2015 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins