Dissociation and acquired capability as facilitators of suicide ideation among soldiers
Shelef, L., Levi-Belz, Y., & Fruchter, E.
Background: The phenomenon of suicide and suicidal behaviors during military service is universal, with a recent dramatic rise in some armies. Aims: The aim of this study was to shed light on the role of dissociation and habituation as facilitators of suicidal behavior, beyond other well-established risk factors of stress, such as depression and hopelessness. Method: The study group included 167 soldiers, aged 18–21 years divided into three research groups: soldiers who made suicide attempts, soldiers who were psychologically treated, and a control group of soldiers having no history of mental health treatment. All subjects completed a suicide ideation scale and instruments measuring stress, mental pain, bodily dissociation, and habituation. Results: Suicide attempters had higher levels of subjective stress as well as depression and hopelessness compared with the psychologically treated and control groups. Using regression analysis, suicide facilitators of dissociation and habituation explained a significant proportion of the suicidal ideation variance, above and beyond the contribution of stress, depression, and hopelessness. A combined effect of stress and facilitating factors amplifies the level of suicidal ideation among soldiers. Conclusion: Identifying psychological facilitators of suicide-like dissociation and habituation may contribute to understanding suicidal behavior in soldiers and assist in developing effective suicide-prevention initiatives in the military setting.