Year: 2023 Source: Archives of Suicide Research. (2023). 27(2), 307-322. DOI: 10.1080/13811118.2021.1993398 SIEC No: 20231236
Objective: This study employed network analysis to characterize central autism spectrum disorder (ASD) traits and suicide symptoms within an active duty military sample as well as to identify symptoms that may bridge between ASD traits and suicidality (i.e., suicidal ideation and behaviors). Method: Participants were active duty U.S. military service members (N = 287). Autism spectrum traits, suicidality, depression, and suicide related constructs were assessed online via self-report. Results: Within the combined ASD trait-suicidality network, suicide rumination, suicide behaviors, and depression had the highest strength centrality. The most central bridge symptoms between ASD and suicidality were thwarted belongingness, social skills deficits, and depressive symptoms. Conclusions: Social skills deficits and thwarted belongingness may function as a meaningful bridge between ASD symptoms and suicidality within active duty members. Individuals with ASD symptoms who additionally present with high levels of thwarted belongingness and/or considerable social skills deficits may be at increased risk for suicidality.HIGHLIGHTSWithin an ASD-suicidality network, social skills deficits, low belonging, and depression had the greatest bridge strength.Although low belonging emerged as a bridge symptom, perceived burdensomeness did not.Suicide rumination, suicide behaviors, and depression were the most central symptom in an ASD-suicidality network.Symptoms related to social skills deficits may connect ASD traits and suicidality.