Interpersonal Needs and Suicide Ideation among Individuals with an Adult Sexual Trauma History: The Roles of Self-Blame and Disclosure
Suicide is a significant concern given it is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Although various risk factors may increase suicide risk, being a victim of sexual trauma is an important, yet understudied, risk factor. Furthermore, little work has been done to understand the relation between sexual trauma experiences (e.g., sexual trauma self-blame) and suicide ideation, especially within the context of theories of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The interpersonal theory of suicide (ITS) may provide such a context. This theory posits that the thwarted interpersonal needs, thwarted belongingness (TB) and perceived burdensomeness (PB), are proximal risk factors for suicide ideation. Disclosing sexual trauma history is also an important sexual trauma-related experience. Disclosing to informal or formal sources about sexual trauma experiences can potentially serve as a protective factor for thwarted interpersonal needs. Through the lens of the ITS, sexual trauma disclosure may buffer the relation between sexual trauma self-blame and thwarted interpersonal needs, reducing the risk for suicide ideation. Participants included 86 individuals with at least one adult sexual trauma (i.e., occurring at or after the age of 18 years) who completed online assessments of thwarted interpersonal needs, sexual trauma self-blame, disclosure, and suicide ideation. It was hypothesized that sexual trauma self-blame would be indirectly related to suicide ideation through TB and PB, independently, among individuals with an adult sexual trauma history. Additionally, it was hypothesized that this indirect association would be further moderated by frequency and average quality of informal, formal, or total disclosure about sexual trauma history. No hypotheses were supported. However, concerns regarding poor data quality due to inconsistent and inattentive response patterns arose during the data cleaning and preparation process prior to analyzing results. Attempts to remediate poor data quality are reviewed, as well as recommendations for future research. Other implications and limitations are discussed.