Inconsistent findings have been reported by previous cross-sectional studies regarding the association between specific posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom clusters and suicidality. To advance the understanding of the role of specific PTSD symptoms in the development of suicidality, the primary aim of this study was to investigate the predictive effects of the three specific PTSD symptom clusters on suicidal ideation prospectively. Fifty-six individuals diagnosed with PTSD completed a two-stage research design, at baseline and 13–15 months follow-up. The clinician administered PTSD scale (CAPS) was used to assess the severity of the PTSD symptom clusters and validated self-report measures were used to assess suicidal ideation, severity of depressive symptoms and perceptions of defeat entrapment. The results showed that only the hyperarousal symptom cluster significantly predicted suicidal ideation at follow-up after controlling for baseline suicidal ideation, severity of depressive symptoms and perceptions of defeat and entrapment. These findings suggest that both disorder-specific and transdiagnostic factors are implicated in the development of suicidal ideation in PTSD. Important clinical implications are discussed in terms of predicting and treating suicidality in those with PTSD.
- PTSD symptom clusters
- Severity of depressive symptoms
- Suicidal ideation