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

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Abstract

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.

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