HEALTH / WELL-BEING

The Association of Military and Pre-military Sexual Trauma with Risk for Suicide Ideation, Plans, and Attempts

Article

This article examines the relationship between military sexual trauma and suicide risk. Results suggest that there is a higher risk of suicide or suicide ideation if sexual trauma occurs during military service.

Abstract

Military sexual trauma is a strong predictor of psychiatric disorders and negative health outcomes among military personnel and veterans, but little is known about its relationship with suicide risk. The current study investigates the association of military sexual trauma with suicide risk among 464 U.S. military personnel and veterans enrolled in college classes. Results indicate that premilitary sexual assault was associated with significantly increased risk for later suicide ideation, plans, and attempts during military service. Unwanted sexual experiences occurring during military service was associated with significantly increased risk for suicide ideation and suicide plans for male participants. When considered simultaneously, premilitary sexual trauma showed relatively stronger associations with suicide risk among women whereas military sexual trauma showed relatively stronger associations with suicide risk among men. Results suggest differences in the relation of sexual trauma to suicide risk among male and female military personnel and veterans.

Full Reference

Bryan, C.J., Bryan, A.O. and Clemans, T.A., 2015. The association of military and premilitary sexual trauma with risk for suicide ideation, plans, and attempts. Psychiatry research, 227(2), pp.246-252.