Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Social Determinants and Military Veterans' Suicide Ideation and Attempt: a Cross-sectional Analysis of Electronic Health Record Data.

Blosnich JR, Montgomery AE, Dichter ME, Gordon AJ, Kavalieratos D, Taylor L, Ketterer B, Bossarte RM. Social Determinants and Military Veterans' Suicide Ideation and Attempt: a Cross-sectional Analysis of Electronic Health Record Data. Journal of general internal medicine. 2020 Jun 1; 35(6):1759-1767.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


BACKGROUND: Health care systems struggle to identify risk factors for suicide. Adverse social determinants of health (SDH) are strong predictors of suicide risk, but most electronic health records (EHR) do not include SDH data. OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of SDH documentation in the EHR and how SDH are associated with suicide ideation and attempt. DESIGN: This cross-sectional analysis included EHR data spanning October 1, 2015-September 30, 2016, from the Veterans Integrated Service Network Region 4. PARTICIPANTS: The study included all patients with at least one inpatient or outpatient visit (n = 293,872). MAIN MEASUREMENTS: Adverse SDH, operationalized using Veterans Health Administration (VHA) coding for services and International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD)-10 codes, encompassed seven types (violence, housing instability, financial/employment problems, legal problems, familial/social problems, lack of access to care/transportation, and nonspecific psychosocial needs). We defined suicide morbidity by ICD-10 codes and data from the VHA's Suicide Prevention Applications Network. Logistic regression assessed associations of SDH with suicide morbidity, adjusting for socio-demographics and mental health diagnoses (e.g., major depression). Statistical significance was assessed with p < .01. KEY RESULTS: Overall, 16.4% of patients had at least one adverse SDH indicator. Adverse SDH exhibited dose-response-like associations with suicidal ideation and suicide attempt: each additional adverse SDH increased odds of suicidal ideation by 67% (AOR = 1.67, 99%CI = 1.60-1.75; p < .01) and suicide attempt by 49% (AOR = 1.49, 99%CI = 1.33-1.68; p < .01). Independently, each adverse SDH had strong effect sizes, ranging from 1.86 (99%CI = 1.58-2.19; p < .01) for legal issues to 3.10 (99%CI = 2.74-3.50; p < .01) for non-specific psychosocial needs in models assessing suicidal ideation and from 1.58 (99%CI = 1.10-2.27; p < .01) for employment/financial problems to 2.90 (99%CI = 2.30-4.16; p < .01) for violence in models assessing suicide attempt. CONCLUSIONS: SDH were strongly associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempt even after adjusting for mental health diagnoses. Integration of SDH data in EHR could improve suicide prevention.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.