Semester of Graduation

Fall 2021


Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



The post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicidal thoughts and behaviors (STB) relationship has been extensively studied but potential explanatory mechanisms remain inconclusive. Entrapment is one variable that evinces a theoretical and empirical mechanistic relationship with PTSD and STB. Further, entrapment and fearlessness about death (FAD) have not been linked but are hypothesized to interact in a way that facilitates vulnerability for intense suicidal thinking and potentially suicidal behavior. The current study examined the indirect effect PTSD symptoms have on suicidal ideation, planning, and likelihood of future suicide attempt through both internal (IE) and external entrapment (EE), moderated by levels of FAD. The sample consisted of both military service members and civilians recruited from six primary care clinics within five military installations across the United States (N=2,690). Results of the moderated mediation analyses indicated an indirect relationship between PTSD and both past month SI and suicide planning through IE but not EE at low, moderate, and high levels of FAD. This indirect relationship was replicated for the association between PTSD and self-rated likelihood of a future suicide attempt through both IE and EE, but at only moderate and high levels of FAD. Phenomenological implications are discussed, including IE as a potential mechanism of action in the transition from PTSD to SI and FAD as necessary to potentiate suicidal planning for those experiencing IE.

Committee Chair

Tucker, Raymond P.



Available for download on Friday, July 26, 2024