Suicidal or Self-Harming Ideation in Military Personnel Transitioning to Civilian Life

Authors

  • Alyssa J. Mansfield PhD,

    1. Alyssa J. Mansfield, Randall H. Bender, and Laurel L. Hourani, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA; Alyssa J. Mansfield, National Center for PTSD, Pacific Islands Division, Veterans Health Administration, Honolulu, HI, USA; Gerald E. Larson, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA, USA.
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  • Randall H. Bender PhD,

    1. Alyssa J. Mansfield, Randall H. Bender, and Laurel L. Hourani, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA; Alyssa J. Mansfield, National Center for PTSD, Pacific Islands Division, Veterans Health Administration, Honolulu, HI, USA; Gerald E. Larson, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA, USA.
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  • Laurel L. Hourani PhD,

    1. Alyssa J. Mansfield, Randall H. Bender, and Laurel L. Hourani, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA; Alyssa J. Mansfield, National Center for PTSD, Pacific Islands Division, Veterans Health Administration, Honolulu, HI, USA; Gerald E. Larson, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA, USA.
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  • Gerald E. Larson PhD

    1. Alyssa J. Mansfield, Randall H. Bender, and Laurel L. Hourani, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA; Alyssa J. Mansfield, National Center for PTSD, Pacific Islands Division, Veterans Health Administration, Honolulu, HI, USA; Gerald E. Larson, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA, USA.
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  • The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and are not intended to represent the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or any other U.S. Government organization.

  • The authors wish to express their sincere gratitude to Russ Peeler, BeLinda Weimer, Michael Bradshaw, Carolyn Reyes, Carrie Borst, and Jennifer Iriondo-Perez from RTI for their valuable assistance to this project.

Address correspondence to Laurel L. Hourani, RTI International, 3040 Cornwallis Road, P. O. Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC, 27709-2194; E-mail: hourani@rti.org

Abstract

Suicides have markedly increased among military personnel in recent years. We used path analysis to examine factors associated with suicidal/self-harming ideation among male Navy and Marine Corps personnel transitioning to civilian life. Roughly 7% of men (Sailors = 5.3%, Marines = 9.0%) reported ideation during the previous 30 days. Results suggest that combat exposure, substance abuse, and resilience are associated with suicidal ideation/self-harming thoughts through the mediation of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and/or depression symptoms. Substance abuse plays a moderating role. Resilience had a direct effect only among the Marines. Implications for improving the transition to civilian life are discussed.

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