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Journal Article


Green JD, Kearns JC, Rosen RC, Keane TM, Marx BP. Behav. Ther. 2018; 49(6): 931-938.


Boston University School of Medicine; National Center for PTSD.


(Copyright © 2018, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Publisher Elsevier Publishing)






In response to high suicide rates among veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has mandated that veterans at risk for suicide be given Safety Plans (SP). Research on the efficacy of SPs, however, is unclear and no prior study has examined the degree to which more personally relevant (i.e., higher quality) SPs may be associated with better outcomes or evaluate which components of SPs may be most effective at reducing suicidal behavior. The goal of the present study was to examine whether more personally relevant (i.e., higher quality) SPs reduce future suicide-related outcomes (psychiatric hospitalization, self-harm, and suicide attempts), and to determine which components of a SP may be most effective at reducing these outcomes. Participants were 68 individuals enrolled in a longitudinal national registry of returning military veterans receiving care from the VA, and who had at least one suicide-related event in the VA Suicide Prevention Applications Network. Data were collected between December 2009 and September 2016 and were analyzed between March 2016 and February 2017. Scores of SP quality were used to predict suicide-related outcomes. SP quality was low. Higher SP quality scores predicted a decreased likelihood of future suicide behavior reports (note entered into veteran's chart after a report of any self-harm behavior, including a suicide attempt). Higher scores on Step 3 (people and places that serve as distractions) predicted a decreased likelihood of future suicide behavior reports. More personally relevant SPs may reduce future suicide-related outcomes among veterans. Low SP quality scores highlight the need for training around SP implementation in the VA.

Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Language: en


intervention; safety plan; suicide; veterans


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