Examining the impact of different types of military trauma on suicidality in women veterans


This paper explores suicide rates as a result of military trauma amongst women veterans.


Suicide rates amongst women veterans are significantly higher than rates for their civilian counterparts. However, risk factors for suicide among women veterans remain unclear. The current study examined the impact of exposure to a number of military stressors (e.g., perceived life threat, killing in combat, military sexual trauma) on suicidal ideation (SI) in women veterans. A total of 403 women veterans responded to mailed self-report surveys, 383 (ages 24–70 years) returned fully completed surveys and were included in analyses, and 16% of those included endorsed current SI. Rates of endorsement for military stressors were as follows: 43% being wounded, 34% loss of someone close, 36% perceived life threat, 30% witnessing a killing or injury, 4% seeing injured or dead bodies, 4% killing in combat, 65% military sexual harassment, and 33% military sexual assault. A logistic regression analysis was conducted with all of the military stressors entered simultaneously to determine the effect on SI. Life threat and sexual harassment had the strongest associations with SI compared to other military stressors. These findings suggest that particular military stressors may play an especially important role in SI in women veterans. Implications and future research considerations are discussed.

Full Reference

Khan, A. J., Li, Y., Dinh, J. V., Donalson, R., Hebenstreit, C. L., Maguen, S., 2019. Examining the impact of different types of military trauma on suicidality in women veterans. Psychiatry Research, 274, pp. 7-11.