Suicide Exposure and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Is Marriage a Protective Factor for Veterans?

David A. Weisenhorn, Laura M. Frey, Judy van de Venne, Julie Cerel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Alarming numbers of military veterans end their lives each day which has a profound effect on the military population. This study examines a sample (N = 434) of suicide-exposed (i.e., personally knowing someone who has died by suicide) veterans to determine whether the proportion of individuals who report high impact from suicide exposure and those who have clinically-significant posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms is related to marital status. Using Hill’s (Social Casework 49: 139–150, 1958) ABC-X model for conceptualizing the relationships between variables, mean scores for posttraumatic stress disorder were significantly different between groups, and the odds of a married veteran reporting high-impact suicide exposure were 2.19 times lower than the odds of a single veteran reporting high-impact. Likewise, the odds of a veteran with high-impact suicide exposure having clinically-significant posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms were 10.04 times higher than veterans with low-impact suicide exposure. Findings indicate that veterans who are married are less likely to be highly-affected by another individual’s suicide. Thus, marriage is a protective factor for suicide-exposed veterans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-167
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Military
  • PTSD
  • Suicide
  • Suicide exposure
  • Veteran

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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