Experiential Avoidance, Pain, and Suicide Risk in a National Sample of Gulf War Veterans.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Objective: Pain confers risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Experiential avoidance (EA), which is relevant to both pain and suicide risk, has not been studied as a potential mechanism for this relationship. The present study tested the hypothesis that pain indirectly impacts suicide risk through EA in a national sample of Gulf War veterans.Methods: Participants included a stratified random sample of United States veterans (N = 1,012, 78% male) who had served in the Gulf War region between August 1990 and July 1991. Validated scales were used to quantify levels of pain, EA, and suicide risk.Results: Regression analyses indicated independent associations between pain, EA, and suicide risk; moreover, the association between pain and suicide risk was no longer significant once EA was included in model. Bootstrapping analyses confirmed that EA partially accounted for the cross-sectional association between pain and suicide risk, independent of common co-occurring problems, such as depression, PTSD, and alcohol use disorder symptoms.Conclusions: EA could be a key modifiable risk factor to target in people experiencing pain.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Grove, JL; Young, JR; Chen, Z; Blakey, SM; Beckham, JC; Calhoun, PS; Dedert, EA; Goldston, DB; Pugh, MJ; Kimbrel, NA

Published Date

  • December 26, 2022

Published In

Start / End Page

  • 1 - 15

PubMed ID

  • 36573028

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1543-6136

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/13811118.2022.2160681


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England