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Examining PTSD, Depression, and Suicide in Veterans

Psychiatry Res; ePub 2018 Apr 22; Arenson, et al

As suicidal ideation is a known risk factor for suicide attempts and completions, veterans with comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression represent a vulnerable group who may need more intensive monitoring and treatment to reduce risk of suicide, according to a recent study that investigated the association of suicidal ideation with comorbid PTSD and depression and examined the role of military and psychosocial covariates. Researchers evaluated 746 veterans to assess PTSD and measure depression and suicidal ideation. Covariates were assessed via validated self-report measures. They found:

  • 49% of veterans with comorbid PTSD and depression endorsed suicidal ideation, making them more likely to do so than those with depression alone (34%), PTSD alone (11%), or neither (2%).
  • In multivariate logistic regression models, this association remained significant after controlling for demographics and symptom severity.
  • Anger, hostility, anxiety, alcohol use, optimism, and social support did not explain the elevated risk of suicidal ideation in the comorbid group in fully adjusted models.


Arenson MB, Whooley MA, Neylan TC, Maguen S, Metzler TJ, Cohen BE. Posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and suicidal ideation in veterans: Results from the Mind Your Heart Study. [Published online ahead of print April 22, 2018]. Psychiatry Res. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2018.04.046.