Military self-stigma as a mediator of the link between military identity and suicide risk
Cacace, S., Smith, E.J., Cramer, R.J., Meca, A., & Desmarais, S.L.
US military Veterans are at greater risk for suicide than those who have never served in the US military. Recent federal calls include the need to investigate military-specific suicide risk and protective factors among military-affiliated populations. To date, no study has examined the link between military identity, self-stigma, and suicide risk. The current study used a nationally representative sample of post-Vietnam US military Veterans (N = 1,461) in order to determine relationships between military identity, self-stigma, and suicide risk. Idealism (OR = 0.86) with less odds of elevated suicide risk, whereas individualism (OR = 1.15) and military self-stigma (OR = 1.39) were associated with increased odds of elevated suicide risk. Military self-stigma was found to mediate the relationship between military identity components and suicide risk. Implications for conceptualization of military Veteran identity, suicide prevention, and future research are discussed.