In the car I heard this short (less than 4 minutes) clip on a new study that supposedly debunks the popular idea that military deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan are behind the increase in suicides among members of the military. The NPR guy summarizing the study said, “Long deployments did not increase the risk of suicide,” and then they quoted one of the authors (I think) who said, “The strongest predictor is mental health” including depression and alcoholism.
I am really hoping this study didn’t do what I fear it might have, namely, run a huge regression analysis with “Length of deployment” as one of the independent variables and “alcoholism” and “depression” as other ones.
If you don’t see why that would be a really dubious approach, imagine if I ran a regression and then announced, “A lot of people think clinical depression is a good predictor of suicide. But nope, once you control for people holding a noose, a gun, or sleeping pills, clinical depression actually doesn’t have much explanatory power at all.”
(I am truly not trying to make light of an awful topic, but I thought I needed to be crystal clear on what I fear might be going on with this study.)