Barnes SM, Walter KH, Chard KM.
Rehabil Psychol. 2012 Feb;57(1):18-26.
Objective: Research shows that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) independently increase suicide risk; however, scant research has investigated whether mTBI increases suicide risk above and beyond the risk associated with PTSD alone. Design: The current research compared suicide risk factors among a matched sample of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) military personnel and veterans with PTSD alone or PTSD and a history of an mTBI. Results: Differences in the assessed risk factors were small and suggest that if PTSD and mTBI are associated with elevations in suicide risk relative to PTSD alone, the added risk is likely mediated or confounded by PTSD symptom severity. Conclusion: This finding highlights the importance of screening and treating military personnel and veterans for PTSD. Future explication of the impact of TBI-related impairments on suicide risk will be critical as we strive to ensure safety and optimize care for our military personnel and veterans.