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Recent Suicidal Ideation and Behavior in the General Population

The Role of Depression, Posttraumatic Stress, and Reactive Avoidance

Briere, John, PhD*; Kwon, Omin, BA; Semple, Randye J., PhD*; Godbout, Natacha, PhD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: May 2019 - Volume 207 - Issue 5 - p 320–325
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000976
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The multivariate relationship between suicidality and three potential etiologic variables (depression, posttraumatic stress, and reactive avoidance) was examined in a stratified sample of 679 individuals from the general population. Lifetime exposure to a trauma or another very upsetting event was prevalent among those reporting suicidal behavior in the previous 6 months (58%) and those reporting recent suicidal ideation alone (40%), relative to those with no recent suicidal thoughts or behaviors (26%). Canonical correlation analysis indicated two independent sources of variance: the first loading on both suicidal ideation and behavior, predicted by depression, posttraumatic stress, and reactive avoidance, and the second indicating a unique relationship between suicidal behavior and reactive avoidance alone. Results indicate that the etiology of suicidality is likely multidimensional, and point to a significant variant of suicidal behavior that is unrelated to depression or posttraumatic stress, but may reflect emotional dysregulation and subsequent distress reduction behaviors.

*Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California,

Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California; and

Département de Sexologie, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

Send reprint requests to John Briere, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 2250 Alcazar St, CSC, Suite 2200, Los Angeles, CA 90033. E-mail: jbriere@usc.edu.

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