Soldiers with multiple traumatic brain injuries at higher risk of suicide: study

May 22, 2013

Salt Lake City – Members of the military may be more at risk for suicide after sustaining multiple traumatic brain injuries, according to researchers from the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah.

Researchers surveyed 161 military personnel stationed in Iraq who were evaluated for a TBI in 2009, dividing them into groups based on number of TBIs: zero, one and multiple, according to the study abstract.

More than 20 percent of patients who had experienced more than one TBI reported suicidal thoughts or behaviors, compared with 6.9 percent of patients with only one TBI, a university press release states. Multiple TBIs also were associated with other psychological symptoms, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Noting the small size of the study, researchers cautioned against applying the results to a broader group and called for larger studies on the subject.

The study was published online May 15 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.