Decreases in Suicide Cognitions After Cognitive Processing Therapy Among Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Due to Military Sexual Trauma: A Preliminary Examination

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Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with suicidal ideation (SI) and suicidal self-directed violence (SDV). Military sexual trauma (MST) is a common precursor to PTSD among veterans. Survivors of MST are more likely to be diagnosed with PTSD and are at greater risk for SI than survivors of other forms of trauma. Suicide-specific beliefs (e.g., unlovability, unbearability, unsolvability) have been shown to be strong predictors of SI and future suicidal SDV. Suicide-specific beliefs were examined over the course of treatment and follow-up in 32 veterans (23 women, 9 men) who received cognitive processing therapy (CPT) for MST-related PTSD. Hierarchical linear models revealed that veterans who received CPT had significant reductions in suicide-specific cognitions regarding unbearability, unlovability, and unsolvability. These preliminary findings warrant replication in a randomized controlled trial with a larger sample that includes participants with more acute suicidal intent.

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