Year: 2011 Source: Professional Psychology, Research and Practice.(2011).42(5):347-353. SIEC No: 20110227

Recent statistics suggest current and former United States military personnel are at a greater risk for suicide than ever before. Indeed, approximately 300 active-duty servicemen died by suicide in 2009, a population-adjusted death rate exceeding that of civilians (U.S. Department of Defense, 2010). Despite a growing body of literature highlighting the adverse consequences of men’s adherence to traditional masculine norms on their physical and emotional health, little attention has been paid to the contributions of compliance with these norms on current and former male military personnel’s risk for suicide. The present manuscript highlights the need for greater consideration of servicemen’s adherence to norms of masculinity to better understand their suicide risk. To organize this presentation, the authors discuss how current and former servicemen’s adherence to social and military injunctions for masculine behavior may contribute to an unwillingness to utilize mental health services that, in turn, exacerbates their mental health and may contribute to their risk for suicide. The authors also provide specific recommendations for gender-sensitive treatment interventions and future research.