Project Title

INSOMNIA AND SUICIDE RISK IN VETERANS: CONDITIONAL INDIRECT EFFECTS OF PERCEIVED BURDENSOMENESS AND SELF-COMPASSION

Authors' Affiliations

Katie J. Tanner1, Kelley C. Pugh, B.A.1, Peter C. Britton, Ph.D.2, Wilfred R. Pigeon, Ph.D.3, Fuschia M. Sirois, Ph.D.4, & Jameson K. Hirsch, Ph.D.1 1Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, East Tennessee State University 2Center for Excellence in Suicide Prevention, Canandaigua VA Medical Center 3Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center 4Department of Psychology, The University of Sheffield

Location

Ballroom

Start Date

4-5-2018 8:00 AM

End Date

4-5-2018 12:00 PM

Poster Number

23

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Jameson K. Hirsch

Faculty Sponsor's Department

Department of Psychology

Type

Poster: Competitive

Classification of First Author

Undergraduate Student

Project's Category

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract Text

Veterans in the United States experience heightened suicide risk, compared to civilians, accounting for approximately 7,400 suicides annually. Among many potential risk factors, insomnia (i.e., difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep) is prevalent in veterans. Individuals with insomnia often encounter difficulties in daily functioning (e.g., fatigue, difficulty concentrating, decreased work performance) and, as a result, may experience perceived burdensomeness (i.e., perceptions of being restrictive or taxing to others), a known contributor to suicide risk. However, not all veterans who suffer from insomnia or perceive themselves as a burden engage in suicidal behaviors, perhaps due to individual-level protective factors. One such factor, self-compassion (i.e., the extension of kindness to oneself in adverse or difficult times), is comprised of self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness, and may reduce suicide risk by buffering against negative self-evaluations regarding sleeplessness and performance. However, this premise has not been previously investigated; therefore, in the current study, we examined the mediating role of perceived burdensomeness on the relation between insomnia and suicide risk and, further, the moderating role of self-compassion on these paths. At the bivariate level, we hypothesized that insomnia, perceived burdensomeness, and suicidal ideation would be positively related, and self-compassion would be inversely related to these factors. At the multivariate level, we hypothesized that the relation between insomnia and suicide risk would be mediated by perceived burdensomeness, and that this association would be moderated by self-compassion on all model paths; such that increased insomnia would be associated with higher levels of perceived burdensomeness and, in turn, suicide risk, and that self-compassion would weaken these deleterious linkages. Participants (N=551; Mean Age=50.4, SD=16.6) were community-dwelling veterans, most of whom were White (85.1%) males (69.3%) and were recruited via online invitations distributed to veteran-related social media groups and organizations. Participants completed an online survey, including: Insomnia Severity Index, Interpersonal Needs Questionnaire, Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire – Revised, and SelfCompassion Scale Short-Form. All bivariate hypotheses were supported, with significance at the p<.001 level. In simple mediation analysis (10,000 bootstrapped samples), the direct effect of insomnia on suicide risk became insignificant (β=.026, p=.147) when perceived burdensomeness was added to the model (β=.111, p<.001), indicating mediation. The moderating effects of selfcompassion were significant on the “a path” (β=-.015, p=.002) and “b path” (β=-.005, p=.003), indicating that self-compassion weakened the insomnia-perceived burdensomeness linkage (perhaps via changing critical self-talk), as well as the perceived burdensomeness-suicide risk linkage (perhaps by increasing sense of common humanity regarding effects of insomnia). Our findings indicate that, in veterans, the relation between insomnia and suicide risk is partially explained by the pathway of perceived burdensomeness, and that self-compassion serves as a protective factor. In addition to treating symptoms of insomnia, therapeutically targeting perceptions of burden (e.g., cognitive reframing) and promoting self-compassion (e.g., practicing self-kindness, mindfulness) may help to prevent suicide in veterans, particularly those suffering from disrupted sleep.

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Apr 5th, 8:00 AM Apr 5th, 12:00 PM

INSOMNIA AND SUICIDE RISK IN VETERANS: CONDITIONAL INDIRECT EFFECTS OF PERCEIVED BURDENSOMENESS AND SELF-COMPASSION

Ballroom

Veterans in the United States experience heightened suicide risk, compared to civilians, accounting for approximately 7,400 suicides annually. Among many potential risk factors, insomnia (i.e., difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep) is prevalent in veterans. Individuals with insomnia often encounter difficulties in daily functioning (e.g., fatigue, difficulty concentrating, decreased work performance) and, as a result, may experience perceived burdensomeness (i.e., perceptions of being restrictive or taxing to others), a known contributor to suicide risk. However, not all veterans who suffer from insomnia or perceive themselves as a burden engage in suicidal behaviors, perhaps due to individual-level protective factors. One such factor, self-compassion (i.e., the extension of kindness to oneself in adverse or difficult times), is comprised of self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness, and may reduce suicide risk by buffering against negative self-evaluations regarding sleeplessness and performance. However, this premise has not been previously investigated; therefore, in the current study, we examined the mediating role of perceived burdensomeness on the relation between insomnia and suicide risk and, further, the moderating role of self-compassion on these paths. At the bivariate level, we hypothesized that insomnia, perceived burdensomeness, and suicidal ideation would be positively related, and self-compassion would be inversely related to these factors. At the multivariate level, we hypothesized that the relation between insomnia and suicide risk would be mediated by perceived burdensomeness, and that this association would be moderated by self-compassion on all model paths; such that increased insomnia would be associated with higher levels of perceived burdensomeness and, in turn, suicide risk, and that self-compassion would weaken these deleterious linkages. Participants (N=551; Mean Age=50.4, SD=16.6) were community-dwelling veterans, most of whom were White (85.1%) males (69.3%) and were recruited via online invitations distributed to veteran-related social media groups and organizations. Participants completed an online survey, including: Insomnia Severity Index, Interpersonal Needs Questionnaire, Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire – Revised, and SelfCompassion Scale Short-Form. All bivariate hypotheses were supported, with significance at the p<.001 level. In simple mediation analysis (10,000 bootstrapped samples), the direct effect of insomnia on suicide risk became insignificant (β=.026, p=.147) when perceived burdensomeness was added to the model (β=.111, p<.001), indicating mediation. The moderating effects of selfcompassion were significant on the “a path” (β=-.015, p=.002) and “b path” (β=-.005, p=.003), indicating that self-compassion weakened the insomnia-perceived burdensomeness linkage (perhaps via changing critical self-talk), as well as the perceived burdensomeness-suicide risk linkage (perhaps by increasing sense of common humanity regarding effects of insomnia). Our findings indicate that, in veterans, the relation between insomnia and suicide risk is partially explained by the pathway of perceived burdensomeness, and that self-compassion serves as a protective factor. In addition to treating symptoms of insomnia, therapeutically targeting perceptions of burden (e.g., cognitive reframing) and promoting self-compassion (e.g., practicing self-kindness, mindfulness) may help to prevent suicide in veterans, particularly those suffering from disrupted sleep.