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Military Suicide Research Consortium (MSRC)

The Department of Defense (DOD) Military Research Consortium (MSRC) was established in 2010.  It is the first of its kind to integrate DOD and civilian efforts to implement a multidisciplinary research approach to suicide prevention.  MSRC was incorporated into the National Research Action Plan (NRAP) on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), other mental health conditions, and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The plan was developed to improve the coordination of government agency research into these conditions and reduce the number of affected men and women through better prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Suicide prevention research is a key theme of NRAP.

As part of the DOD’s comprehensive suicide prevention strategy, MSRC was designed to comprehensively investigate risk factors and protective factors for suicide, suicide-related behavior (SRB), and other mental/behavioral health issues. MSRC researchers are multidisciplinary and have conducted research using machine learning, testing interventions such as for lethal means safety, examine biomarkers and neural markers for SRB, examined the application of artificial intelligence to suicide prediction and prevention, and much more.

Request for Access to MSRC Data

The Military Suicide Research Consortium (MSRC) Database is a valuable resource for a variety of stakeholders. The MSRC established Common Data Elements (CDE) to aid investigators with their military suicide research activities. In addition, MSRC Principal Investigators enhanced the database by uploading de-identified data from their MSRC projects. All are accountable for the responsible use of this resource. 

Please note that the MSRC ended on March 31, 2023, and that the VA’s Suicide Prevention Research Impact NeTwork (SPRINT) is now serving as custodian of the de-identified aggregate data. SPRINT is charged with the responsibility for making these data available to researchers interested in military and Veteran suicide research. Upon request, SPRINT will provide data from MSRC funded projects to qualified Investigators. In accordance with current VA ORD guidelines, VA investigators will not need a Data Use Agreement (DUA) to receive MSRC data. Investigators outside of VA will need a DUA to receive MSRC data.

The DUA provides for a commitment to: 1) use the data only for research purposes; 2) secure the data using appropriate computer technology; and 3) destroy or return the data after analyses are completed. All data users must comply with the Office of Civil Rights’ Privacy Rule (HIPAA) procedures. Additional agreements may also be used to protect intellectual property rights while exchanging information with collaborators, partners, and the larger scientific community. Please note that the review of existing data is a research activity requiring local IRB review. The research project may be determined to be exempt, but a request for determination by the local IRB and a signed DUA are all required before the data will be released.

The preparation and dissemination of datasets (and suitable instructions and documentation to enable their use and interpretation) consumes SPRINT resources. For this reason, SPRINT is not obligated to support an unlimited number of requests for data use. Priority is given to supporting requests from SPRINT affiliated researchers, but even these are subject to resource allocation constraints. Decisions about which data use requests can and cannot be supported are made by SPRINT leadership.

How to request access to MSRC data

There are two types of data requests:

Internal VA Data Requests

Internal VA Data requests are intended for research purposes with the goal of presentation, publication, or preliminary data for a grant proposal. These requests are reviewed on a rolling basis. Typically, a final decision regarding the request will be provided within 60 days of the request.  The hypotheses and analyses outlined for this type of request are considered the intellectual property of the requestor for one year from the date of data release. That is, we will not share the same data for the same purposes to other requestors. However, it is required that the data be included in a publication (in press or print), a conference presentation, or a submitted grant proposal to an external funding agency within one year of the release of the data. The citation for the publication or presentation or the grant submission information must be provided to SPRINT ASAP, but no longer than one year from the date of the request. Requestors may apply for an extension, but justification for such an extension must be provided. As mentioned previously, these data requests will not require a DUA, but they will require local IRB approval before data are released.

External Data Requests

External data requests are for qualified investigators outside of VA. These data requests are intended for research purposes with the goal of presentation, publication, or preliminary data for a grant proposal. Qualified investigators are determined by SPRINT. Requests are reviewed on a rolling basis as resources allow. Typically, a final decision regarding the request will be provided within 60 days of the request.

The hypotheses and analyses outlined for this type of request are considered the intellectual property of the requester for one year from the time the data are released. That is, we will not share the same data for the same purposes to other requestors. However, it is required that the data be included in a publication (in press or print), a conference presentation, or a submitted grant proposal to an external funding agency within one year of the release of the data. The citation for the publication or presentation or the grant submission information must be provided to SPRINT ASAP, but no longer than one year from the date of the request. Requestors may apply for an extension, but justification for such an extension must be provided. As mentioned previously, these data requests will require a DUA and local IRB approval before data are released.

Complete the data request form.

Publishing Requirements

When you publish secondary analyses of these data, you must formally cite the data in your publication's References section using the following citation:

Gai, A., Ringer, F., Schafer, K., Dougherty, S., Schneider, M., Soberay, K. A., Gutierrez, P. M., Joiner, T. E., Comtois, K. A., & Plant, E. A. (2021). The nature and structure of the Military Suicide Research Consortium's common data elements. Military Behavioral Health, 9(2), 129-138. DOI: 10.1080/21635781.2020.1812454

You also must include the following paragraph in the Acknowledgements section of your publications:

This publication is based on public use data from the Military Suicide Research Consortium (MSRC).  These data available from the VA’s Suicide Prevention Research Impact NeTwork (SPRINT).

The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the SPRINT or MSRC.

Data and Documentation

The following data is available through this resource.  Note that for each data source, SPRINT is providing the current maximum available number of observations and an indicator of military status – currently serving, Veteran, no military service, or missing military service. 

Basic Study Information: (current max n = 6,556; 40% Currently Serving, 27% Veteran, 27% No Military Service, 6% Missing Service Information)

  • Data collection method, note if additional information for each project requested, please be explicit in the data request form

Basic Demographic Data: (current max n = 6,556; 40% Currently Serving, 27% Veteran, 27% No Military Service, 6% Missing Service Information)

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Education
  • Relationship Status
  • Deployment (y/n)
  • Military Branch
  • Active Duty (y/n)
  • Any Service (current, veteran, civilian)

Common Data Elements (current max n = 6,556; 40% Currently Serving, 27% Veteran, 27% No Military Service, 6% Missing Service Information)

  • Depression Symptom Index-Suicidality Subscale (DSI-SS; Metalsky & Joiner, 1997): (DSI-SS_1 - DSI-SS_4) CDE1-4
  • Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire-Revised (SBQ-R; Osman et al., 2001) (SBQ_1 – SBQ_4) CDE5-8
  • Suicide Intent Scale [modified for this project based on SIS; Beck, Schuyler, & Herman, 1974) (SIS_1 – SIS_4) CDE9-12
  • Suicidal and NSSI behaviors (Original to CDE; # Lifetime attempts, # attempts since enrolled, description of most lethal attempt, medical attention, # NSSI, # NSSI since enrollment) CDE13-18
  • Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation (BSS; Beck & Steer, 1991) BSS_1 & BSS_2: CDE19 & CDE20
  • Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS; Beck, Weissman, Lester, & Trexler, 1972) BHS 8 = CDE21, BHS 12 = CDE22, BHS 14 = CDE23
  • Interpersonal Needs Questionnaire (INQ; Van Orden et al., 2012): CDE24= INQ7, CDE25=INQ8, CDE26= INQ13, CDE27=INQ14, CDE28= INQ10
  • Anxiety Sensitivity Scale-3 (ASI-3; Taylor et al., 2007) ASI-3 14 = CDE29; ASI-3 18 = CDE30; ASI-3 10 = CDE31; ASI-3 16 = CDE32; ASI-3 2=CDE33
  • PTSD Checklist - Military Version (PCL; Weathers et al., 1993) PCLM 1 – PCLM3 & PCLM5-PCLM7 = CDE34 – CDE39; PCLM 16 = CDE40, PCLM17 = CDE41 (Note: some PI’s use Civilian wording and instructions see PCL_type variable)
  • TBI-4 Screener (TBI-4; Brenner et al. 2013) TBI-4 1 – TBI4 4 = CDE42 – CDE45
  • Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C; Bush, Kivlahan, McDonnel, Fihn, & Bradley, 1998) AUDIT1 - AUDIT3 = CDE46-CDE48
  • Drug use and behavioral treatment sessions (Original to CDE) CDE49 – CDE51
  • Insomnia Severity Index (ISI; Bastein, Vallieres, & Morin, 2001): ISI1 – ISI4 = CDE52 – CDE55, ISI7 = CDE56
  • Know anyone who died by suicide?, the relationship with this person, and the effect it had (Original to CDE) CDE57 – CDE57d

Additional Full Scales:

  • BSSI: Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation; Beck & Steer, 1991 (current max n = 4,389; 45% Currently Serving, 21% Veteran, 25% No Military Service, 9% Missing Service Information)
  • BHS: Beck Hopelessness Scale; Beck 1988 (current max n = 1,531; 43% Veteran, 39% No Military Service, 18% Missing Service Information)
  • AUDIT-C; Bush, Kivlahan, McDonnel, Fihn, & Bradley, 1998 (current max n = 2,683; 65% Currently Serving, 11% Veteran, 24% No Military Service)
  • INQ: Interpersonal Needs Questionnaire; Van Orden et al., 2012 (current max n = 2,367; 67% Currently Serving, 15% Veteran, 17% No Military Service, 1% Missing Service Information)
  • PCL-C: PTSD Checklist – Civilian Version; Weathers et al., 1993 (current max n = 511; 41% Veteran, 58% No Military Service, 1% Missing Service Information)
  • ACSS: Acquired Capability for Suicide Scale; Ribeiro et al., 2014 (current max n = 1,733; 91% Currently Serving, 9% Veteran)
  • ACSS: Acquired Capability for Suicide Fearlessness Subscale; Ribeiro et al., 2014 (current max n = 3,112; 50% Currently Serving, 9% Veteran, 30% No Military Service, 11% Missing Service Information)
  • BDI-II: Beck Depression Inventory II; Beck et al., 1996 (current max n = 812; 1% Currently Serving, 40% Veteran, 54% No Military Service, 5% Missing Service Information)

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Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.