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Am J Public Health. 1996 May;86(5):662-7.

The risk of suicide among wounded Vietnam veterans.

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  • 1Environmental Epidemiology Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC 20036-3406, USA.



This study was undertaken to determine whether an association exists between combat trauma and risk of postservice suicide among Vietnam veterans.


Risk of suicide for 34,534 veterans who were wounded in Vietnam was evaluated for severity of wound and number of times wounded.


There was a trend of increasing risk of suicide with increased occurrence of combat trauma, the highest relative risk (1.82, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.12, 2.96) being observed for those veterans who were wounded more than once and hospitalized for a wound. In comparison with the US male general population, veterans hospitalized because of a combat wound or wounded more than once had a significantly increased risk of suicide (standardized mortality ratios [SMRs] of 1.22 [95% CI = 1.00, 1.46] and 1.58 [95% CI = 1.06, 2.26], respectively). Those wounded more than once and hospitalized had the highest increased risk of suicide (SMR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.10, 2.60).


This study suggests that, among wounded Vietnam veterans, there is an increased risk for suicide associated with increased occurrence of combat trauma.

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