Background: Veterans experiencing housing instability are at increased risk of suicide. Research is needed to identify gender differences in the predictors of both suicidal ideation and suicide attempt, particularly among Veterans who are unstably housed.
Objectives: The objective of the present study was to explore whether correlates of suicide-related morbidity among unstably housed Veterans vary by gender and identify implications for improved care for these Veterans.
Methods: The study cohort included 86,325 Veterans who reported current housing instability between October 1, 2013, and September 30, 2016. This cross-sectional study assessed differences in demographic and outcome variables by gender using χ2 analyses and a series of multiple logistic regressions predicting suicidal ideation and suicide attempt, stratified by gender.
Results: Among unstably housed female Veterans, being younger than 40 years was associated with more than double the odds of having an indicator of suicidal ideation and >12 times the odds of having an indicator of a suicide attempt. The effect sizes associated with age were much less pronounced among unstably housed male Veterans. The presence of mental health and substance use conditions as well as a positive screen for military sexual trauma were associated with increased risk of suicide morbidity among both women and men.
Conclusions: Intervention and prevention among unstably housed Veterans may be complicated by unpredictable living situations; further research should explore tailored interventions to address the complex needs of unstably housed Veterans and how suicide prevention can be woven throughout.