Posttraumatic stress disorder as a risk factor for suicidal ideation in Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans

Authors

  • Matthew Jakupcak,

    Corresponding author
    1. Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC), VA Puget Sound Health Care System and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA
    • Deployment Health Clinic, Puget Sound Health Care System, 1660 South Columbian Way, Seattle, WA 98108
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  • Jessica Cook,

    1. Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC), VA Puget Sound Health Care System and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA
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  • Zac Imel,

    1. Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC), VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA and Department of Counseling Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
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  • Alan Fontana,

    1. Northeast Evaluation Program Evaluation Center (NEPEC), VA National Center for PTSD, West Haven, CT and Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
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  • Robert Rosenheck,

    1. Northeast Evaluation Program Evaluation Center (NEPEC), VA National Center for PTSD, West Haven, CT and Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
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  • Miles McFall

    1. Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC), VA Puget Sound Health Care System and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA
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  • This material is the result of work supported by resources from the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, Washington.

Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was examined as a risk factor for suicidal ideation in Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans (N = 407) referred to Veterans Affairs mental health care. The authors also examined if risk for suicidal ideation was increased by the presence of comorbid mental disorders in veterans with PTSD. Veterans who screened positive for PTSD were more than 4 times as likely to endorse suicidal ideation relative to non-PTSD veterans. Among veterans who screened positive for PTSD (n = 202), the risk for suicidal ideation was 5.7 times greater in veterans who screened positive for two or more comorbid disorders relative to veterans with PTSD only. Findings are relevant to identifying risk for suicide behaviors in Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans.

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