Negative childhood and combat experiences can drive veterans’ suicidal thoughts

Negative childhood and combat experiences can drive veterans' suicidal thoughts

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa .– The suicide rate among veterans after 9/11 has been on the rise for nearly a decade. While there are a number of factors associated with suicide, veterans have unique experiences that can cause them to think about suicide.

“Compared to their civilian peers, ex-combatants are more likely to report having had negative traumatic childhood experiences (ACE) such as physical and emotional abuse, ”said Keith Aronson, associate director of the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State and the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) . “Veterans also engage in life-threatening combat and witness the corollaries of combat, such as seeing colleagues killed or injured.”

A recent study of nearly 10,000 post-9/11 veterans investigated whether traumatic childhood and combat experiences were associated with thoughts of suicide.

The research published Feb. 24 in the Journal of Community Psychology.

Compared to veterans who had no ACE or combat exposure (reference group), male and female veterans who had undergone ACE but no combat were two and a half times more likely to signal suicidal thoughts. Women who …

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