Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 8-13-2022


One-year Embargo

Submission Type


Degree Name





School of Nursing

Committee Chair

Linda Garand

Committee Member

L. Kathleen Sekula

Committee Member

Thomas Joiner, Jr.


Purple Heart, Interpersonal Theory of Suicide, Military, Veterans, Traumatic Brain Injury, Suicidal Behaviors


Military suicide rates remain high, despite years of targeted efforts to prevent suicide. Specifically, Army Combat Veterans who sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) while deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism are at the highest risk for suicide. This dissertation highlights possible causes for suicidal behaviors within this unique group and provides specific military suicide prevention recommendations. The dissertation is organized into three publishable manuscripts: The first manuscript (Chapter 1) is a mixed-methods dissertation research proposal written according to the National Institute of Health proposal guidelines. The second manuscript (Chapter 2) is an integrative review of the literature (under review by an academic journal) identifying what is known about suicidal behaviors among Post-9/11 Combat Veterans through the lens of the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide. The third manuscript (Chapter 3) reports the results of the mixed methods study (under review by an academic journal). To our knowledge, this study is the first to identify the values, beliefs, and meaning of the Purple Heart among Post-9/11 Army Combat Veterans with a TBI and examine the relationship between not receiving the Purple Heart and suicidal behaviors. This manuscript also identifies specific, actionable policy changes that may prevent suicidal behaviors among Post-9/11 U.S Army Combat Veterans with a TBI.



Available for download on Thursday, September 28, 2023