Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Association between traumatic brain injury and suicidality using a mediation approach and MarketScan


Introduction Negative outcomes, including suicidal ideation/attempts, are a major public health concern, particularly among individuals who sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI is associated with high rates of postinjury substance use, psychiatric disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and sleep disturbances. This study examines the mediation effects of substance use, psychiatric disorder and sleep disorder on the associations between TBI and suicidal ideation/attempts.

Methods A matched case–control study using data from MarketScan databases for private health insurance and Medicaid from October 2015 to December 2018 estimated the association between TBI and suicidal ideation/attempts using a mediation approach. Individuals less than 65 years of age were included.

Results In the Medicaid sample, psychiatric disorders mediated 22.4% of the total effect between TBI and suicidal ideation/attempt, while substance use disorders other than opioid use disorder mediated 7.47%. In the private health insurance sample, psychiatric disorders mediated 3.97% of the total effect, opioid use disorders mediated 2.08% of the total effect and sleep disorder mediated 1.25% of the total effect.

Conclusions Mediators explained less than 30% of the relationship between TBI and suicidal ideation/attempt. Findings reinforce the importance of primary prevention of TBI and monitoring patients with a TBI for risk of suicide in the first 6–12 months following injury.

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Psychological
  • Case-Control Study

Data availability statement

Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available. Data are available through IBM MarketScan Research.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.