BACKGROUND: Workplace victimization is a potential risk factor for suicidal behaviors (SB) among military personnel that has been largely overlooked. This paper examines both the impact of workplace victimization on reported SB and several potential protective factors associated with such suicidal behaviors in a large sample of active duty soldiers.
METHODS: A case-control study was conducted with 71 soldiers who reported SB in the past 12 months, each matched on sociodemographic characteristics to two others without reported suicidal behaviors. A multiple regression model was estimated to assess the effects of risk and protective factors while controlling for other variables.
RESULTS: SB was associated with several aspects of victimization, mental health and substance abuse conditions, pain, impulsivity, stressors, negative life events, work-family conflict, active coping behaviors and positive military-related factors. Controlling for other variables, those with SB were more likely to have sought mental health or substance abuse services, to be depressed, anxious, impulsive, and less resilient than non-SB personnel.
LIMITATIONS: Study limitations included the use of retrospective self-report data, absence of some known SB predictors, and a population restricted to active duty Army personnel.
CONCLUSIONS: SB among active duty personnel is associated with victimization since joining the military and is protected by resiliency. These findings suggest that in addition to the usual mental health factors, these additional predictors should be accounted for in SB intervention and prevention planning for active duty personnel.