Better off with you: Exploring congruity between caregivers’ and Veterans’ experience of efforts to cope with suicide

Dev Crasta, Angela Page Spears, Sarah R. Sullivan, Peter C. Britton, Marianne Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The interpersonal theory of suicide posits people are more likely to consider suicide when they perceive themselves as alone and as a burden. However, there is limited research on whether these self-perceptions reflect caregiver experiences. As part of a larger study of collaborative safety planning, 43 Veteran/caregiver dyads (N = 86 individuals) completed measures of belongingness and burdensomeness, caregiver burden, family problem solving, and suicide-related coping. We conducted dyad-level actor interdependence models allowing two types of social coping (i.e., general problem solving and suicide-specific coping) to predict Veteran’s self-views and caregiver interpersonal perceptions. Results suggested that Veteran social coping predicted lower Veteran thwarted belonginess and burdensomeness and caregiver involvement in problem solving was similarly associated with their own lower caregiver emotional burden. But examination of cross-partner effects demonstrated that greater Veteran coping was associated with greater time burden for caregivers. Findings suggest that social coping is associated with positive perceptions at the individual level (i.e., Veterans and caregivers to themselves) but does not indicate positive effects at the partner level. Clinicians working with Veterans may wish to involve supports in care to encourage effective collaboration that meets both caregiver/recipient needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-334
Number of pages9
JournalMilitary Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022


  • Veteran
  • caregiver burden
  • coping
  • interpersonal theory of suicide
  • perceived burdensomeness


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