Date Approved

8-28-2013

Date Posted

4-4-2014

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Committee Member

Ellen Koch, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

Karen Saules, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dean Lauterbach, Ph.D.

Abstract

Suicide took almost 40,000 U.S. lives in 2011, with military rates exceeding the general population (and rising). Anxiety sensitivity (AS; the fear of fear) includes three components: physical, cognitive, and social. Recent studies indicate a connection between AS and suicidality through the Interpersonal-Psychological Theory of Suicide (IPTS). Separate research has proposed that the development of severe psychopathology, like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicide, may be moderated by AS. The present study considered this mechanism from an IPTS perspective with a cross-sectional sample of veterans and active duty members from a Veterans Affairs clinic database. Regression models tested whether physical AS would moderate the relationship between combat exposure and PTSD; whether PTSD would mediate the relationship between combat exposure and suicidality; and whether social AS would predict suicidality. None of the hypotheses were supported. However, PTSD, combat exposure, and cognitive AS predicted suicidality, supporting other recent results.

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