Military Veterans' Experiences with Suicidal Ideation: Implications for Intervention and Prevention

Lauren M. Denneson, Alan R. Teo, Linda Ganzini, Drew A. Helmer, Matthew J. Bair, Steven K. Dobscha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We sought to understand Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) veterans' experiences with suicidal ideation. Semi-structured interviews with 34 OEF/OIF veterans addressed circumstances leading up to disclosure of suicidal ideation during brief clinical assessments. We used an iterative, inductive and deductive thematic analysis approach. Results revealed three pervasive, persistent domains that reinforce the uniqueness of veteran suicidal thoughts: military culture, difficult deployment experiences, and postdeployment adjustment challenges. Within postdeployment, we identified four themes that serve as intervention targets: adjusting to civilian culture, changes to sense of self, feeling overwhelmed by stressors, and lacking life purpose or meaning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-414
Number of pages16
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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