Year: 2023 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2023), 53(4), 642-654. DOI: 10.1111/sltb.12970 SIEC No: 20231826

Introduction: Prevention of suicide-related behaviors is considered a top clinical priority within the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense. Despite previous literature attesting to the likely importance of situational stress as a key correlate of acute changes in suicide risk, longitudinal research into associations between situational stress and suicide-related outcomes among military personnel has been relatively limited.

Methods: The current study examined associations between situational stress, recent suicide attempt, and future suicide attempt using data from 14,508 Army soldiers and recently discharged veterans enrolled in the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers-Longitudinal Studies (STARRS-LS).

Results: Recent situational stress was more common among recently discharged veterans (vs. soldiers), those with a recent suicide attempt (vs. those without), and those with a subsequent suicide attempt (vs. those without). Job loss was more closely associated with suicide attempts among soldiers, whereas financial crisis, police contact, and death, illness, or injury of close others were more closely associated with suicide attempts among recently discharged veterans.

Conclusion: Findings further highlight situational stress as a salient risk factor for suicide-related outcomes among military personnel, particularly among recently discharged veterans. Implications for screening and treatment of at-risk military personnel are discussed.