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Postdeployment Suicide Risk Increases Over a 6-month Period: Predictors of Increased Risk among Midwestern Army National Guard Soldiers.
Kim HM, Levine DS, Pfeiffer PN, Blow AJ, Marchiondo C, Walters H, Valenstein M. Postdeployment Suicide Risk Increases Over a 6-month Period: Predictors of Increased Risk among Midwestern Army National Guard Soldiers. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior. 2017 Aug 1; 47(4):421-435.
National Guard (NG) soldiers returning from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan were surveyed at 6 and 12 months following their return (N = 970). The overall prevalence of suicide risk at 6 and 12 months following their return was assessed, as were changes in suicide risk among soldiers initially at high or low risk. Factors associated with changes in risk were assessed. The percentage of NG soldiers with high suicide risk increased from 6.8% at 6 months to 9.2% at 12 months (odds ratio = 1.7, p = .02). In the 882 soldiers initially at low risk, 5.9% (52/882) became high risk at 12 months; in the 64 soldiers initially at high risk, 46.9% (30/64) became low risk at 12 months. Initial levels of depressive symptoms were predictive of changing to high risk; this association appeared to be partially explained by soldier reports of increased search in the meaning in life and higher levels of perceived stress. Because suicide risk increases over the first 12 months, continued risk assessments during this time period should be considered. Supporting soldiers to find meaning in their life after deployment and enhancing their capacity to cope with perceived stress may help prevent increases in suicide risk over time.