Navigation Links
Killing in war linked with suicidal thoughts among Vietnam veterans, study finds

The experience of killing in war was strongly associated with thoughts of suicide, in a study of Vietnam-era veterans led by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC) and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

The scientists found that veterans with more experiences involving killing were twice as likely to have reported suicidal thoughts as veterans who had fewer or no experiences.

To evaluate the experience of killing, the authors created four variables killing enemy combatants, killing prisoners, killing civilians in general and killing or injuring women, children or the elderly. For each veteran, they combined those variables into a single composite measure. The higher the composite score, the greater the likelihood that a veteran had thought about suicide.

The relationship between killing and suicidal thoughts held even after the scientists adjusted for variables including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, substance use disorders and exposure to combat.

The study, which was published electronically on April 13 in the journal Depression and Anxiety, was based on an analysis of data from the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Survey, a comprehensive study of a nationally representative sample of Vietnam-era veterans.

The authors cited other research indicating that veterans are at elevated risk of suicide compared to people with no military service. They noted that by 2009, the suicide rate in the U.S. Army had risen to 21.8 per 100,000 soldiers, a rate exceeding that of the general population.

"The VA has a lot of very good mental health programs, including programs targeting suicide prevention. Our goal is to make those programs even stronger," said lead author Shira Maguen, a clinical psychologist at SFVAMC and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCSF. "We want clinicians and suicide prevention coordinators to be aware that in analyzing a veteran's risk of suicide, killing in combat is an additional factor that they may or may not be aware of."

Notably, the scientists found that the only variable with a significant link to actual suicide attempts among the veterans was PTSD a finding that replicated earlier studies, according to Maguen. Thus, she said, the link between killing and suicide attempts was not as significant as the link between killing and suicidal thoughts.

Maguen noted that, currently, the mental health impact of killing is not formally evaluated as part of VA or Department of Defense mental health treatments, nor typically taken into consideration when assessing a veteran's risk of suicide.

"We know from our previous research how hard it is to talk about killing," Maguen cautioned. "It's important that we as care providers have these conversations with veterans in a supportive, therapeutic environment so that they will feel comfortable talking about their experiences."

The overall goal, she said, "is to look back and understand some lessons of the past that we can apply to the present. Talking with people who have had suicidal thoughts can potentially give us insights into why suicides occur, and hopefully help us prevent them."


Contact: Steve Tokar
415-221-4810 x5202
University of California - San Francisco

Related medicine news :

1. Plasmacytoid DCs: Tumor-killing immune cells
2. Cancer-killing compound spares healthy cells
3. Cancer-killing cells are caught on film in more 3-D detail than ever before
4. Led by advances in chemical synthesis, scientists find natural product shows pain-killing properties
5. New dishware sanitizers prove more effective at killing harmful bacteria
6. Compound enhances cancer-killing properties of agent in trials
7. Button Batteries Killing, Disabling Children
8. Is Our Junk Food Diet Killing America?
9. Online Tool Created to Contact Vatican Officials: Why Are American Bishops Allowed to Defy the Popes Words Concerning Child Killing and the Eucharist?
10. Is Your Exercise Routine Killing You?
11. Anxiety Linked to Smarts in Brain Study
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/26/2015)... Las Vegas, NV (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... holiday shopping strategy. Many customers choose to buy during the Black Friday and ... holiday gifts. Shoppers don’t need to search the Internet high and low to find ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... The Catalent Applied ... the need to integrate dose form selection in early phase drug development. The ... organization supporting and bringing together the UK’s emerging life sciences companies, corporate partners, ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... WorldCare International, Inc., the first ... annual Employee Benefits Conference. The Employee Benefits Conference was hosted by the International ... November 11th, 2015. The conference was held at the Hawaii Convention Center in ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Indosoft Inc., developer and distributor of the world-class Asterisk based ... efficiency and reliability. , The new Q-Suite 6 platform is based on the latest ... itself into a specific piece of software for many key components of the suite. ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... the perfect dish and pleasing the palates of attendees is of the utmost ... dish to a seasonal get-together, give these recipes a try this holiday season. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... the addition of the "2016 Future ... Drugs of Abuse Testing Market: Supplier Shares, ... report to their offering. --> ... of the "2016 Future Horizons and ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the  "2016 ... the European Therapeutic Drug Monitoring (TDM) ... Competitive Intelligence, Emerging Opportunities"  report to ... ) has announced the addition of ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Research and Markets ( ) ... Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in the Italian ... Segment Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging Opportunities" report ... --> This new 247-page report ... drug monitoring market, including emerging tests, technologies, instrumentation, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: