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Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 22–30 | Cite as

The Interactive Effects of the Capability for Suicide and Major Depressive Episodes on Suicidal Behavior in a Military Sample

  • Carol Chu
  • Matthew C. Podlogar
  • Christopher R. Hagan
  • Jennifer M. Buchman-Schmitt
  • Caroline Silva
  • Bruno Chiurliza
  • Jennifer L. Hames
  • Ian H. Stanley
  • Ingrid C. Lim
  • Thomas E. Joiner
Original Article

Abstract

Major depressive symptoms are associated with increased risk for suicidal ideation and behavior. Suicide is fearsome; as such, the interpersonal theory of suicide proposes that individuals who engage in suicidal behavior possess not only the desire to die, but also the acquired capability (AC) for suicide. This study examined whether major depressive episodes (MDEs) may be particularly relevant to suicidal behavior when considered in the context of AC. History of MDEs, AC, and suicide attempt history were examined in a large (n = 3377) sample of military members. Data were analyzed using hierarchical multiple regression. Results indicated that among individuals with high AC, the number of MDEs was significantly, positively associated with number of previous suicide attempts; MDEs were not significantly related to suicide attempt history among individuals with low AC. Findings held in the presence of robust covariates associated with suicidal behavior. Findings suggest that a history of MDEs alone may not indicate severe suicide risk—increased AC for suicide appears necessary for increased suicide risk. Implications for suicide treatment and prevention in military personnel are discussed.

Keywords

Military Suicide Major depressive episodes Acquired capability for suicide 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported, in part, by the Military Suicide Research Consortium, an effort supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs under Award No. (W81XWH-10-2-0181). This research was also partially supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health to Carol Chu (5 T32 MH093311-04) and Jennifer M. Buchman-Schmitt (5 T32 MH093311-04).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Carol Chu, Matthew C. Podlogar, Christopher R. Hagan, Jennifer M. Buchman-Schmitt, Caroline Silva, Bruno Chiurliza, Jennifer L. Hames, Ian H. Stanley, Ingrid C. Lim, Thomas E. Joiner declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the university and the United Stated Army Medical Department’s institutional research boards and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Animal Rights

No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol Chu
    • 1
  • Matthew C. Podlogar
    • 1
  • Christopher R. Hagan
    • 1
  • Jennifer M. Buchman-Schmitt
    • 1
  • Caroline Silva
    • 1
  • Bruno Chiurliza
    • 1
  • Jennifer L. Hames
    • 1
  • Ian H. Stanley
    • 1
  • Ingrid C. Lim
    • 2
  • Thomas E. Joiner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Office of the Surgeon General, Defense Health HeadquartersFalls ChurchUSA

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