Publication Date

Spring 2016

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Amy Brausch (Director), Dr. Andrew Mienaltowski, and Dr. Reagan Brown

Degree Program

Department of Psychological Sciences

Degree Type

Master of Science


Survivors of physical trauma may be at increased risk for developing suicidal ideation and behavior both during and after their inpatient hospitalization for medical treatment of wounds. It remains to be understood why a population hospitalized for nonpsychiatric reasons may ultimately develop a desire to take their own life. The current study sought to answer this question by hypothesizing that symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTS) and depression during the recovery period individually mediated the relationship between physical pain and suicidal ideation. Researchers assessed these relationships in 246 patients who were receiving emergency medical treatment for wounds associated with a physically traumatic event. Patients were interviewed using a battery of assessments, including the PTSD Checklist-Civilian, Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation, Medical Outcomes Study Short Form, and the Patient Health Questionnaire. Regression analyses provided support for the role of PTS and depression as mediators of the relationship between physical pain and suicidal ideation. These findings suggest that it may be important for behavioral health professionals to monitor symptoms of PTS and depression during a trauma survivor’s painful recovery period, as this may provide a crucial window of intervention during which the escalation of suicidal feelings can be prevented.


Counseling Psychology | Epidemiology | Pain Management | Psychological Phenomena and Processes