New Article: Shelef et al, Risk Factors for Suicide Attempts among IDF Soldiers

Shelef, Leah, Dan Kaminsky, Meytal Carmon, Ron Kedem, Omer Bonne, J. John Mann, and Eyal Fruchter. “Risk Factors for Suicide Attempt among Israeli Defense Forces Soldiers: A Retrospective Case-Control Study.” Journal of Affective Disorders 186 (2015): 232-40.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2015.07.016

 

Abstract

Background

A major risk factor for suicide is suicide attempts. The aim of the present study was to assess risk factors for nonfatal suicide attempts.

Methods

The study’s cohort consisted of 246,814 soldiers who were divided into two groups: soldiers who made a suicide attempt (n=2310; 0.9%) and a control group of soldiers who did not (n=244,504; 99.1%). Socio-demographic and personal characteristics as well as psychiatric diagnoses were compared.

Results

The strongest risk factors for suicide attempt were serving less than 12 months (RR=7.09) and a history of unauthorized absence from service (RR=5.68). Moderate risk factors were low socioeconomic status (RR=2.17), psychiatric diagnoses at induction (RR=1.94), non-Jewish religion (RR=1.92), low intellectual rating score (RR=1.84), serving in non-combat unit (RR=1.72) and being born in the former Soviet Union (RR=1.61). A weak association was found between male gender and suicide attempt (RR=1.36). Soldiers who met more frequently with a primary care physician (PCP) had a higher risk for suicide attempt, as opposed to a mental health professional (MHCP), where frequent meetings were found to be a protective factor (P<0.0001). The psychiatric diagnoses associated with a suicide attempt were a cluster B personality disorder (RR=3.00), eating disorders (RR=2.78), mood disorders (RR=2.71) and adjustment disorders (RR=2.26).

Limitations

Mild suicidal behavior constitutes a much larger proportion than among civilians and may have secondary gain thus distorting the suicidal behavior data.

Conclusions

Training primary care physicians as gatekeepers and improved monitoring, may reduce the rate of suicide attempts.

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