- Predictors of suicide attempts among patients with no previous mental health diagnosis emerge from a retrospective survey of US Army administrative data.
- Sex, education level, deployment history, demotion, health care visits, exposure to violence, and other factors are predictive.
Why this matters
- Mental health diagnoses are predictive of suicide attempts and deaths, but fewer than half of soldiers who die by suicide have received a mental health diagnosis.
- The results suggest it may be possible to analyze administrative data among service personnel to identify individuals at high risk for suicide attempt.
- Longitudinal cohort study (regular army enlisted soldiers with history of suicide attempt, n=9650; equal probability sample, n=153,528 control person-months).
- Funding: None disclosed.
- 36.3% of soldiers who had attempted suicide had no history of mental health diagnosis.
- The odds of suicide attempt were highest among soldiers who (ORs [95% CIs]):
- were in their first year of service: 6.0 (4.7-7.7);
- had inpatient health care visits: 3.8 (2.3-6.3);
- had experienced family violence: 2.9 (1.9-4.4);
- were female: 2.6 (2.4-2.8);
- were previously deployed: 2.4 (2.1-2.8);
- had less than a high school education: 1.9 (1.8-2.0); and
- had a past-year demotion: 1.6 (1.3-1.8).
- Findings may not be generalizable.
Coauthored with Chitra Ravi, MPharm