Factors Increasing Risk of Suicide after Traumatic Brain Injury: A State-of-the-Science Review of Military and Civilian Studies

Academic Article


  • Primary Objective: Survey TBI literature to identify evidence of risk for post-injury suicide. Literature Selection: Search terms ((traumatic brain injury OR TBI) AND (suicidality OR suicidal behaviour OR suicidal ideation)) entered in PubMed, OVID Medline, PsychInfo, and Web of Science for papers published in print 01/01/1997 to 06/30/2019. Analysis of Literature: Authors screened abstracts, excluding duplicates and articles not meeting inclusion/exclusion criteria. Full papers were reviewed to make final exclusions. Data were extracted from 40 papers included co- and premorbid disorders, demographics, injury-related and psychological factors. Results: Persons with TBI have a higher risk for suicide than the general population. Reviewed articles reported comorbid depression and/or PTSD as risk factors for post-TBI suicide. Co- or premorbid substance misuse, sex, and sleep disturbance moderate risk. Quality of the literature was limited by sample size, the predominance of male participants, and inconsistency in reporting of findings. Conclusions: Comorbid depression and PTSD are significant post-TBI risk factors for suicide. Several variables combine to moderate or mediate TBI’s connection with suicide. Civilian and military clinician cross-talk and consistent reporting of results from reproducible studies of post-TBI suicide risk factors could improve prevention and treatment efforts in veterans and civilians.
  • Published In

  • Brain Injury  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • McIntire KL; Crawford KM; Perrin PB; Sestak JL; Aman K; Walter LA; Page DB; Wen H; Randolph BO; Brunner RC
  • Start Page

  • 151
  • End Page

  • 163
  • Volume

  • 35
  • Issue

  • 2