Is There a Link Between Altitude & Veteran Suicide Rates?

Research Paper Title

Effect of Altitude on Veteran Suicide Rates.

Background

Suicide rates in the general population in the United States are correlated with altitude.

The purpose of this research was to explore factors contributing to suicide among military veterans.

Methods

The researchers examined the relationship between veteran state-level suicide rates and altitude for 2014, including firearm-related and nonfirearm-related rates.

Methods

Pearson’s coefficients were calculated for altitude and each outcome.

Mixed linear models were used to determine the association between suicide and altitude while adjusting for demographic confounds.

Results

State mean altitude was significantly correlated with total veteran suicide rate (r = 0.678, p < 0.0001), veteran firearm-related suicide rate (r = 0.578, p < 0.0001), and veteran non-firearm suicide rate (r = 0.609, p < 0.0001).

In mixed models, altitude was significantly correlated with total veteran suicide rate (β = 0.331, p < 0.05), veteran firearm suicides (β = 0.282, p < 0.05), and veteran non-firearm suicides (β = 0.393, p < 0.05).

Conclusions

This study adds to evidence linking altitude and suicide rates, arguing for additional research into the relationship between altitude and suicide among veterans.

Reference

Sabic, H., Kious, B., Boxer, D., Fitzgerald, C., Riley, C., Scholl, L., McGlade, E., Yurgelun-Todd, D., Renshaw, P.F. & Kondo, D.G. (2019) Effect of Altitude on Veteran Suicide Rates. High Altitude Medicine and Biology. doi: 10.1089/ham.2018.0130. [Epub ahead of print]

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