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Comment & Response |

Suicide Attempts in the US Army

Christopher G. Ivany, MD1; Charles W. Hoge, MD2
[+] Author Affiliations
1Office of the Army Surgeon General, Falls Church, Virginia
2Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, Maryland
JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(2):176. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2363.
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To the Editor The article by Ursano et al1 contributes much to the important dialogue on suicide in active-duty soldiers, but one of the central points requires clarification and further exploration. The authors examined diagnostic codes in the electronic medical record system and another clinician-populated surveillance database called the Department of Defense Suicide Event Report (DODSER) to conclude that the risk for suicide attempts is lower in soldiers who are currently deployed compared with soldiers who have either never been or were previously deployed. The authors discussed the potential implications of this finding but did not acknowledge the principal methodological limitation of the data on which they based their findings.


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February 1, 2016
Robert J. Ursano, MD; Ronald C. Kessler, PhD; Murray B. Stein, MD, MPH
1Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland
2Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
3Department of Psychiatry, University of California–San Diego, La Jolla4Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California–San Diego, La Jolla5Psychiatry Service, Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California
JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(2):176-177. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2559.
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