Objectives: This study was undertaken to determine whether an association exists between combat trauma and risk of postservice suicide among Vietnam veterans.
Methods: Risk of suicide for 34,534 veterans who were wounded in Vietnam was evaluated for severity of wound and number of times wounded.
Results: There was a trend of increasing risk of suicide with increased occurrence of combat trauma, the highest relative risk (1.82, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.12, 2.96) being observed for those veterans who were wounded more than once and hospitalized for a wound. In comparison with the US male general population, veterans hospitalized because of a combat wound or wounded more than once had a significantly increased risk of suicide (standardized mortality ratios [SMRs] of 1.22 [95% CI = 1.00, 1.46] and 1.58 [95% CI = 1.06, 2.26], respectively). Those wounded more than once and hospitalized had the highest increased risk of suicide (SMR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.10, 2.60).
Conclusions: This study suggests that, among wounded Vietnam veterans, there is an increased risk for suicide associated with increased occurrence of combat trauma.