Longitudinal associations between childhood sexual abuse-related PTSD symptoms and passive and active suicidal ideation among sexual minority men

Jillian R. Scheer, Kirsty A. Clark, Ali Talan, Cynthia Cabral, John E. Pachankis, H. Jonathon Rendina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Sexual minority men report high rates of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and adulthood suicidality. However, mechanisms (e.g., PTSD symptoms) through which CSA might drive suicidality remain unknown. Objective: In a prospective cohort of sexual minority men, we examined: (1) associations between CSA and suicidal thoughts and behaviors; (2) prospective associations between CSA-related PTSD symptoms and suicidal ideation; and (3) interpersonal moderators of these associations. Participants and setting: Participants included 6305 sexual minority men (Mage = 33.2, SD = 11.5; 82.0% gay; 53.5% White) who completed baseline and one-year follow-up at-home online surveys. Methods: Bivariate analyses were used to assess baseline demographic and suicidality differences between CSA-exposed participants and non-CSA-exposed participants. Among CSA-exposed participants, multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to regress passive and active suicidal ideation at one-year follow-up on CSA-related PTSD symptoms at baseline. Interactions were examined between CSA-related PTSD symptoms and interpersonal difficulties. Results: CSA-exposed sexual minority men reported two-and-a-half times the odds of suicide attempt history compared to non-CSA-exposed men (95% CI = 2.15–2.88; p < 0.001). Among CSA-exposed sexual minority men, CSA-related PTSD symptoms were prospectively associated with passive suicidal ideation (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.38; 95% CI = 1.19; 1.61). Regardless of CSA-related PTSD symptom severity, those with lower social support and greater loneliness were at elevated risk of active suicidal ideation at one-year follow-up. Conclusions: CSA-related PTSD symptom severity represents a psychological mechanism contributing to CSA-exposed sexual minority men's elevated suicide risk, particularly among those who lack social support and report loneliness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105353
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume122
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • PTSD
  • Sexual minority men
  • Social support
  • Suicidality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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