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Understanding a time of high risk for suicide: Adversities associated with separation from military service among National Guard and Reserve service members

APA Citation:

Wang, J., Ursano, R. J., Dinh, H., Thomas, J. L., Cohen, G. H., Sampson, L. A., Galea, S., & Fullerton, C. S. (2023). Understanding a time of high risk for suicide: Adversities associated with separation from military service among National Guard and Reserve service members. Psychiatry, 86(2), 124-136. https://doi.org/10.1080/00332747.2023.2188627

Abstract Created by REACH:

This study examined the prevalence of 5 types of adversities (i.e., health, employment, interpersonal, financial, and healthcare access) among National Guard and Reserve (NG/R) Service members. 1,110 NG/R Service members reported whether they had experienced each of the 5 types of adversities, whether they had recently separated from the military (n = 206), and their demographic information (e.g., military branch, sex, education, marital status). Overall, employment difficulties (e.g., losing a job, unemployment) and financial problems were the most common adversities that participants faced.


Mental health

Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:


Subject Affiliation:

Guard/Reserve member


Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)


Review of Literature
Quantitative Study


Wang, Jing, Ursano, Robert J., Dinh, Hieu, Thomas, Jeffrey L., Cohen, Gregory H., Sampson, Laura A., Galea, Sandro, Fullerton, Carol S.


Objective The purpose was to examine five types of adversity and their associations with separating from military service among a nationally representative sample of U.S. National Guard and Reserve (NGR) service members.Methods Multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the association between separating from the service and adversities, and demographic differences in adversities experienced among those who had separated from the service and those who stayed in the service.Results Those who left the military were more likely to report financial (OR = 1.65, 95% CI = 1.01–2.70) and healthcare access problems (OR = 2.21, 95% CI = 1.10–4.46). Among those who left the military, female service members were more likely to experience interpersonal adversity (OR = 4.28, 95% CI = 1.15–15.87), and Army and Marine service members were more likely to experience job-employment adversity (OR = 4.92, 95% CI = 1.50–16.12) and financial adversity (OR = 6.46, 95% CI = 1.22–34.33).Conclusion Separating service members experience financial adversity and challenges with healthcare access. Interpersonal difficulties are particularly experienced by female service members, and job/employment difficulties experienced by Army and Marine veterans. Continued efforts are needed to facilitate service delivery for NGR separating service members who need them.

Publication Type:

REACH Publication


military, National Guard, Reserve, service members, suicide risk

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REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  August 2023

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