Military service and suicidal thoughts and behaviors in a national sample of college students.
Pease, J.~~Monteith, L.~~et al.
As a result of the post-9/11 GI Bill, increasing numbers of veterans are enrolling in college. However, little is known regarding suicidal outcomes among this group. In prior research, college student veterans reported high rates of suicidal ideation and attempt. Nonetheless, no research has examined whether military service is associated with increased suicide risk among college students. Aims: Our primary aims were to examine whether a history of military service was related to past-year suicidal ideation, plan, and attempt among college students. On the basis of previous research with college students, we hypothesized that students with a history of military service (i.e., current or prior) would report a higher percentage of past-year suicidal ideation, plan, and attempt. Our secondary aims were to examine the associations between military service and major depression and nonsuicidal self-injury. Method: Our sample included 3,290 college students with and without a history of military service who participated in the Healthy Minds Study in 2011 and 2012. Results: Military service was not significantly associated with past-year suicidal ideation, plan, or attempt. Students without a history of military service were more likely to report nonsuicidal self-injury. There was no significant difference in screening positive for major depression. Conclusions: These findings conflict with previous research that identified student veterans as being at elevated risk.