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Comment & Response
December 18, 2013

Suicides Among Military Personnel—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, Maryland
  • 2Deployment Health Research Department, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, California
  • 3Seattle Epidemiologic Research and Information Center, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, Washington
JAMA. 2013;310(23):2565-2566. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.282701

In Reply The MCS is the largest longitudinal study of current and former US military members. Contrary to assertions by Drs Nevin and Ritchie, multiple methodological studies have been conducted, including comparisons between responders and nonresponders, survey and electronic records, and validation of the standardized instruments.1,2 Despite relatively low response rates, the cohort is representative of the US military, has outstanding data quality and reliability, and has no evidence of adverse sampling or response bias.1,2 Most importantly, this is the first study to link data from active military service, time after service (from sources independent from the Department of Veterans Affairs), and national death records. Thus, it offers an opportunity to comprehensively assess the effect of military risk factors beyond military service.

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