JOURNAL ARTICLE

Deliberate self-harm and suicidal ideation among male Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans seeking treatment for PTSD

Nathan A Kimbrel, Margaret E Johnson, Carolina Clancy, Michael Hertzberg, Claire Collie, Elizabeth E Van Voorhees, Michelle F Dennis, Patrick S Calhoun, Jean C Beckham
Journal of Traumatic Stress 2014, 27 (4): 474-7
25066891
The objectives of the present research were to examine the prevalence of deliberate self-harm (DSH) among 214 U.S. male Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans seeking treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to evaluate the relationship between DSH and suicidal ideation within this population. Approximately 56.5% (n = 121) reported engaging in DSH during their lifetime; 45.3% (n = 97) reported engaging in DSH during the previous 2 weeks. As hypothesized, DSH was a significant correlate of suicidal ideation among male Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans, OR = 3.88, p < .001, along with PTSD symptom severity, OR = 1.03, p < .001, and combat exposure, OR = 0.96, p = .040. A follow-up analysis identified burning oneself, OR = 17.14, p = .017, and hitting oneself, OR = 7.93, p < .001, as the specific DSH behaviors most strongly associated with suicidal ideation. Taken together, these findings suggest that DSH is quite prevalent among male Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans seeking treatment for PTSD and is associated with increased risk for suicidal ideation within this population. Routine assessment of DSH is recommended when working with male Iraq/Afghanistan veterans seeking treatment for PTSD.

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