267353 Sex differences in circumstances of suicide among current or former military personnel 16 States, United States, 2006-2008

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 9:10 AM - 9:30 AM

Alex E. Crosby, MD, MPH , Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Rita Livingston-Underwood, MD, MPH , Medical Genetics - Southeast Newborn Screening & Genetics Collaborative, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Background: There have been conflicting reports of increased risk of suicide among current and former US military personnel, particularly those who are serving or have served in either Afghanistan or Iraq. Current personnel have experienced increases while rates among former personnel are uncertain. There is little information describing the sex differences in the patterns of suicide among current or former military personnel (CFMP). This study describes the characteristics of suicide among CFMP by sex in the U.S. using the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), a surveillance system that combines information from multiple data sources. Methods: We analyzed the circumstances of suicides occurring from 2006-2008 in 16 states among persons who previously served or were currently serving in the military at the time of their death. Results: From 2006-2008, there were 27,301 suicides; among those, 5,213 occurred among persons who were CFMP. Males represented 97% of CFMP decedents. Males were statistically more likely to be older (69% were 50+ years) than females (26%) and to have used a firearm (70% vs 34%). There was no significant difference between the sexes on current depressed mood (males 44%, females 51%) however females had significantly more recorded current mental health problems (71% vs 36%) and current treatment for mental health problem (58% vs 27%); males had significantly higher reports of physical health problems (38% vs 22%). Conclusion: This report's findings indicate that differences exist between the sexes of CFMP in the circumstances of suicides possibly indicating different suicide prevention practices may be useful.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss why suicide is an important public health issues among military personnel and veterans. 2. Describe the National Violent Death Reporting System. 3. Compare the patterns of suicide among current or former military personnel by sex.

Keywords: Suicide, Injury Risk

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the lead of or contributor to multiple epidemiolgic studies examining violence-related subjects such as suicidal behavior, child maltreatment, elder abuse and neglect and youth interpersonal violence. I have also contributed to injury prevention program development and evaluation.
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.

Back to: 3043.0: Suicide prevention