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A sex-stratified analysis of suicidal ideation correlates among deployed post-9/11 veterans: Results from the survey of experiences of returning veterans.

Hoffmire CA, Monteith LL, Denneson LM, Holliday R, Park CL, Mazure CM, Hoff RA. A sex-stratified analysis of suicidal ideation correlates among deployed post-9/11 veterans: Results from the survey of experiences of returning veterans. Journal of affective disorders. 2021 Nov 1; 294:824-830.

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BACKGROUND: Suicide rates are higher among veterans than non-veterans; this difference is particularly salient for females. Knowledge is sparse regarding correlates of suicidal ideation (SI) among female veterans, particularly in non-VHA samples. As such, and given that SI confers a strong risk for subsequent suicidal behavior, this study aimed to: (1) compare prevalence of recent SI by sex; and (2) determine whether deployment stressors, mental health symptoms, and recent psychosocial stressors are associated with recent SI, by sex, among post-9/11 veterans. METHODS: A sex-stratified analysis of cross-sectional data from 809 post-9/11, deployed veterans was conducted using the Survey of Experiences of Returning Veterans (SERV); statistical interactions between sex and correlates of interest were assessed. RESULTS: Self-reported prevalence of recent SI did not differ by sex. A statistically significant interaction between sex and combat was observed; greater combat experience was associated with increased SI for females only. While significant interactions were not observed for other correlates, differences in significant predictors and predictor effect sizes were noted across sex-stratified models. Recent housing and financial concerns were only associated with increased SI prevalence among females, whereas concern about other recent stressful life events was associated with increased SI prevalence only among males. LIMITATIONS: This is a cross-sectional analysis of a national survey with limited power to detect statistical sex interactions. CONCLUSIONS: While correlates of SI are relatively consistent for males and females notable differences suggest that tailored assessment and intervention based on sex may hold merit in mitigating SI among post-9/11 era Veterans.

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