Suicide risk and coping styles in posttraumatic stress disorder patients

Psychother Psychosom. 1999 Mar-Apr;68(2):76-81. doi: 10.1159/000012316.


Background: Suicide and suicidal behavior have been found to be increased among posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients. The present study examined suicide risk and Plutchik's coping styles in PTSD patients.

Method: 47 PTSD patients were compared with 42 patients with mixed non-PTSD anxiety disorders and 50 healthy control subjects, matched for age and gender, on a measure of suicide risk.

Results: The PTSD patients scored significantly higher than the two control groups on the suicide risk measure. Furthermore, in the PTSD group, suicide risk was significantly negatively correlated with the coping mechanisms of mapping, minimization and replacement and positively correlated with the coping style of suppression. Furthermore, the coping styles significantly explained the variance of the suicide risk measure for all three groups.

Conclusions: The cognitive map of PTSD patients highly resembles other populations with high suicide risk. Clinicians treating victims of traumatic events should focus on problem-solving therapies in order to help these patients deal less rigidly with everyday stresses and by this decrease the suicide risk.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / classification
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Death
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Denial, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Problem Solving
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Suicide / prevention & control*
  • Suicide / psychology*