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Medical News and Perspectives
December 19, 2007

Research, Law Address Veterans’ Suicide

JAMA. 2007;298(23):2732. doi:10.1001/jama.298.23.2732

Ongoing research shows significant differences in indicators of suicide risk among veterans compared with the general US population, and these findings are prompting action by both clinicians and lawmakers.

“Physicians are taught that certain characteristics are associated with suicide, but our results indicate that within certain populations, those characteristics may not hold up,” said Kara Zivin, PhD, a Department of Veterans Affairs investigator and assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. Zivin is lead author of the largest and latest study, which revealed that younger, white, non-Hispanic men have the highest risk of suicide among depressed veterans (Zivin K et al. Am J Public Health. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2007.115477 [published online ahead of print October 30, 2007]). Other recent research has found that veterans were twice as likely to die of suicide compared with nonveterans in the general population (Kaplan MS et al. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2007;61[7]:619-624).

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