Temporal-Dimensional Examination Of The Scale For Suicidal Ideation In A Cohort Of Service Members In Treatment For Ptsd

Jonathan E. Butner, Craig J. Bryan, Jeffrey V. Tabares, Lily A. Brown, Stacey Young-McCaughan, Willie J. Hale, Jim Mintz, Brett T. Litz, Jeffrey S. Yarvis, Brooke A. Fina, Edna B. Foa, Patricia A. Resick, Alan L. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Failing to account for temporal dynamics can hinder our understanding of suicidal ideation and the potential mechanisms underlying increased risk for suicide death and suicide attempts associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To address these limitations, this study used an analytic approach based on Dynamical Systems Theory to describe temporal patterns associated with multiple dimensions of suicidal ideation in a treatment-seeking sample of military personnel diagnosed with PTSD. Method: We performed a secondary analysis of archived data from 742 active-duty military per-sonnel (90% male, 57% white, mean age = 33 ± 7.4 years) enrolled in three clinical trials to examine the dimensional measurement properties of the first 5 items of the Scale for Suicidal Ideation (SSI). Results: Findings indicated two change dynamics for suicidal ideation: homeostatic (i.e., the tendency for suicidal ideation to return to a stable point) and cyclical (i.e., the tendency for suicidal ideation to switch back and forth between higher and lower values). Cycling was the dominant dynamic and was related to variables other from suicidal ideation. Conclusion: The cyclic nature of suicidal ideation suggests that assessment timing and context could influence observed associations with other variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)793-801
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2021


  • dynamical systems theory
  • military
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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