Acute Trauma Factor Associations With Suicidality Across the First 5 Years After Traumatic Brain Injury

Matthew R. Kesinger, Shannon B. Juengst, Hillary Bertisch, Janet P. Niemeier, Jason W. Krellman, Mary Jo Pugh, Raj G. Kumar, Jason L. Sperry, Patricia M. Arenth, Jesse R. Fann, Amy K. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective To determine whether severity of head and extracranial injuries (ECI) is associated with suicidal ideation (SI) or suicide attempt (SA) after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Design Factors associated with SI and SA were assessed in this inception cohort study using data collected 1, 2, and 5 years post-TBI from the National Trauma Data Bank and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) databases. Setting Level I trauma centers, inpatient rehabilitation centers, and the community. Participants Participants with TBI from 15 TBIMS Centers with linked National Trauma Data Bank trauma data (N=3575). Interventions Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures SI was measured via the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (question 9). SA in the last year was assessed via interview. ECI was measured by the Injury Severity Scale (nonhead) and categorized as none, mild, moderate, or severe. Results There were 293 (8.2%) participants who had SI without SA and 109 (3.0%) who had SA at least once in the first 5 years postinjury. Random effects logit modeling showed a higher likelihood of SI when ECI was severe (odds ratio=2.73; 95% confidence interval, 1.55–4.82; P=.001). Drug use at time of injury was also associated with SI (odds ratio=1.69; 95% confidence interval, 1.11–2.86; P=.015). Severity of ECI was not associated with SA. Conclusions Severe ECI carried a nearly 3-fold increase in the odds of SI after TBI, but it was not related to SA. Head injury severity and less severe ECI were not associated with SI or SA. These findings warrant additional work to identify factors associated with severe ECI that make individuals more susceptible to SI after TBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1301-1308
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2016


  • Brain injuries
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Multiple trauma
  • Rehabilitation
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicide, attempted

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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