206801 Identifying Trends in Veteran and Non-Veteran Rates of Suicide: New York, 1996-2005

Monday, November 9, 2009: 3:15 PM

Robert M. Bossarte, PhD , Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Kerry L. Knox, PhD , Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Xin Tu, PhD , Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Recent studies have reported an increased rate of suicide among veterans of military service. Consistent with these reports, results from studies of Vietnam veterans have previously identified an increased risk of suicide among military personnel deployed to combat areas that extended beyond separation from active military service. The main objective of this study was to identify differences in veteran and non-veteran trends in suicide mortality among residents of New York State for the years 1996-2005. Data were obtained from the New York State Department of Health and New York City Department of Vital Records for all deaths from suicide (ICD-10 X60-X84 and Y70). Population estimates for veterans of military service were obtained from the Department of Veteran Affairs VetPop 2007 database. Non-veteran populations were calculated by subtracting veteran population estimates from state population data obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau for each year in the study period. Veteran and non-Veteran rates were calculated for each group and were also stratified by age group (18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, & 70+), gender, method of suicide (firearm, poisoning, suffocation, stabbing/cutting, & other), race/ethnicity, marital status, and time period (1996-2002 & 2003-2005). Linear and non-linear trends were identified using regression estimates adjusted for distributional differences. Excess mortality was identified using standardized mortality ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Results from this study highlight importance differences in patterns of suicide mortality. Discussion topics include baseline differences in Veteran and non-Veteran rates of suicide, differences in methods of suicide, and individual characteristics associated with excess mortality.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss changes in rates of suicide for Veterans. 2. Describe characteristics associated with an increased risk of suicide among Veterans. 3. Identify differences in Veteran and non-Veteran suicides. 4. Discuss gaps in existing research and direction of future research and prevention initiatives.

Keywords: Suicide, Veterans' Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: N/A

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Experience conducting research and developing and presenting results.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.