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

Killing in combat may be independently associated with suicidal ideation.

Maguen S, Metzler TJ, Bosch J, Marmar CR, Knight SJ, Neylan TC. Killing in combat may be independently associated with suicidal ideation. Depression and anxiety. 2012 Nov 1; 29(11):918-23.

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: The United States military has lost more troops to suicide than to combat for the second year in a row and better understanding combat-related risk factors for suicide is critical. We examined the association of killing and suicide among war veterans after accounting for PTSD, depression, and substance use disorders. METHODS: We utilized a cross-sectional, retrospective, nationally representative sample of Vietnam veterans from the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS). In order to perform a more in depth analysis, we utilized a subsample of these data, the NVVRS Clinical Interview Sample (CIS), which is representative of 1.3 million veterans who were eligible for the clinical interview by virtue of living in proximity to an interview site, located within 28 standard metropolitan regions throughout the United States. RESULTS: Veterans who had higher killing experiences had twice the odds of suicidal ideation, compared to those with lower or no killing experiences (OR = 1.99, 95% CI = 1.07-3.67), even after adjusting for demographic variables, PTSD, depression, substance use disorders, and adjusted combat exposure. PTSD (OR = 3.42, 95% CI = 1.09-10.73), depression (OR = 11.49, 95% CI = 2.12-62.38), and substance use disorders (OR = 3.98, 95% CI = 1.01-15.60) were each associated with higher odds of suicidal ideation. Endorsement of suicide attempts was most strongly associated with PTSD (OR = 5.52, 95% CI = 1.21-25.29). CONCLUSIONS: Killing experiences are not routinely examined when assessing suicide risk. Our findings have important implications for conducting suicide risk assessments in veterans of war. Depression and Anxiety 00:1-6, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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.