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March 2016

Childhood Abuse and Military Experience—Important Information to Better Serve Those Who Have Served

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 2Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 3Office of Public Health, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York
  • 5Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York
JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(3):195-196. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2736

Afifi et al1 corroborate results from a recent US study showing higher prevalence of childhood abuse among persons with a history of military service compared with persons who did not serve in the military.2 More importantly, Afifi and colleagues show how childhood abuse was differentially associated with suicidal risk among military and nonmilitary samples, and they explore childhood abuse in the context of deployment-related traumatic experiences among military personnel. These important findings have repercussions, from epidemiology through intervention and implementation efforts, for how scientists, health care professionals, and systems tackle the issue of understanding health outcomes, including suicide risk, among individuals who have served in the military.

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