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family support and suicidal thoughts



Family Support during Deployment Reduces Suicidal Thoughts in Veterans

Boston, MA; March 16, 2015—Family support during deployment is an important protective factor against post-deployment suicidal ideation according to a new study in the journal Anxiety, Stress and Coping.

Suicidal ideation includes thoughts that can range from fleeting consideration of suicide to the development of a specific plan for killing oneself. Research on suicidal ideation in veterans who served in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in Iraq has revealed a number of important predictors of suicidal ideation, including potentially traumatic deployment experiences (such as combat and sexual assault), mental health symptoms and diagnoses (such as posttraumatic stress disorder—PTSD—and depression) and lack of social support. Despite advances in understanding suicidal ideation among veterans, family factors during deployment remain relatively unexplored as predictors of suicidal ideation in this population.

For this study, a one-time mail survey was completed by 978 OEF/OIF veterans who reported combat exposure. The survey asked about a variety of deployment and post-deployment experiences, including family stress and support.

"We found that both family stress and lack of family support during deployment were associated with suicidal ideation; however these associations occur primarily through mental health symptomatology, consistent with findings observed for other deployment factors," explained Dawne S. Vogt, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and epidemiologist in the Women's Health Sciences Division, National Center for PTSD at the VA Boston Healthcare System.

According to the researchers this study provides novel evidence for the role of deployment family factors in post-deployment suicidal ideation and further highlights the potential of treating mental health symptoms as a means of preventing suicidal thoughts among veterans.




"Family support, family stress, and suicidal ideation in a combat-exposed sample of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans," Jaimie L. Gradus, Brian N. Smith, and Dawne Vogt. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping, Published online: 16 Feb 2015.


PTSD in the Family: Dressing Invisible Wound

March 16, 2015—What image comes to mind when you hear the termposttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD? If you conjure up the face of a soldier, you’re certainly not alone. This is the common theme in media reports on the subject; and certainly, high percentages of military veterans do experience posttraumatic symptoms. However, the diverse faces of PTSD sufferers tell another story.
(Full story . . . )

Reminders of Emotional Support Silence the Brain's Response to Threat

November 7, 2014—Being shown pictures of others being loved and cared for reduces the brain's response to threat, new research from the University of Exeter has found.
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Trauma before Enlistment Linked to High Suicide Rates among Military Personnel, Veterans


Child abuse, sexual victimization, prior suicidal behavior significant risk factors

WASHINGTON, DC; August 9, 2014—High rates of suicide among military service members and veterans may be related to traumatic experiences they had before enlisting, making them more vulnerable to suicidal behavior when coping with combat and multiple deployments, according to the findings of several recent studies presented at the American Psychological Association's 122nd Annual Convention.
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Study Finds Greater Odds of Adverse Childhood Experiences in Those with Military Service

July 23, 2014—Men and women who have served in the military have a higher prevalence of adverse childhood events (ACEs), suggesting that enlistment may be a way to escape adversity for some.
(Full story . . . )



Press materials provided by Boston University Medical Center.

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