Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 233–243

Suicidal ideation and social exchanges among at-risk veterans referred for a behavioral health assessment

  • Shahrzad Mavandadi
  • Karen S. Rook
  • Jason T. Newsom
  • David W. Oslin
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00127-012-0534-5

Cite this article as:
Mavandadi, S., Rook, K.S., Newsom, J.T. et al. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol (2013) 48: 233. doi:10.1007/s00127-012-0534-5



The current study examined the independent association between positive (e.g., emotional and instrumental support) and negative (e.g., insensitive behavior, unwanted advice from others) social exchanges and suicidal ideation among veterans referred for a behavioral health assessment.


The sample included 606 veterans [mean age = 54.96 (SD = 14.96)] referred by primary care for a clinical mental health/substance abuse (MH/SA) assessment following a positive MH/SA screen. Data on sociodemographics, MH/SA conditions (e.g., depression, PTSD, anxiety, and alcohol abuse), the self-reported frequency of positive and negative social exchanges, and suicidal ideation were extracted from clinical interviews and evaluated.


Veterans were primarily male, non-married, and had adequate financial resources, and approximately half were White. 74.4 and 20.3 % met criteria for a MH/SA condition and suicidal ideation, respectively. Multiple logistic regression analyses revealed that, adjusting for sociodemographics, physical functioning, and comorbid MH/SA conditions, veterans reporting more frequent negative exchanges with network members were significantly more likely to report suicidal ideation. Positive exchanges, in contrast, were not significantly related to the outcome. Inadequate finances and MH/SA conditions also were significantly related to suicidal ideation.


Findings highlight the value of exploring the quality of social exchanges among veterans in primary care who screen positive for behavioral health issues, as such information has the potential to inform screening and intervention efforts aimed at reducing suicidal ideation.


Suicide Positive social exchanges Negative social exchanges Mental health Veterans 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shahrzad Mavandadi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Karen S. Rook
    • 3
  • Jason T. Newsom
    • 4
  • David W. Oslin
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical CenterPhiladelphia VA Medical CenterPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, School of Social EcologyUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA
  4. 4.Institute on Aging, School of Community HealthPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

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