Research Reports - Traumatic brain injury and suicidal ideation among U.S. veterans

J Trauma Stress. 2015 Aug;28(4):361-5

Gradus JL(1,)(2,)(3), Wisco BE(4), Luciano MT(1), Iverson KM(1,)(2), Marx
BP(1,)(2), Street AE(1,)(2)

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with suicidal behavior among veterans,
and gender differences in the strength of associations may exist. Almost all
research has been limited to Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients, and
it is unclear if findings generalize to veterans who do not use VHA services. We
examined gender- and VHA-user-specific associations between TBI related to
deployment and postdeployment suicidal ideation in a U.S. national sample of
1,041 female and 880 male Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi
Freedom (OIF) veterans. Path analysis was used to estimate TBI and suicidal
ideation association, and examine PTSD and depression symptomatology in these
associations. TBI was associated with suicidal ideation among male VHA users, OR
= 3.64, 95% CI [2.21, 6.01]; and male and female nonusers, OR = 2.24, 95% CI
[1.14, 4.44] and OR = 2.65, 95% CI [1.26, 5.58], respectively, in unadjusted
analyses. This association was explained by depression symptoms among male and
female nonusers. Among male VHA users an association between TBI and suicidal
ideation remained when accounting for depression symptoms, OR = 2.50, 95% CI
[1.33, 4.71]. Our findings offered evidence of an association between TBI and
suicidal ideation among male OEF/OIF VHA users.

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