Are Canadian soldiers more likely to have suicidal ideation and suicide attempts than Canadian civilians?
Authors: Shay-Lee Belik, Murray B. Stein, Gordon J. G. Asmundson, and Jitender Sareen
Significant controversy exists as to whether soldiers are at an increased risk for suicide and suicidal behaviours compared with civilians. Furthermore, little is known about whether risk factors for suicidal behaviours in civilian populations are generalizable to soldiers. The aim of the current study is to determine whether the prevalence and correlates of past-year suicidal ideation and suicide attempts differ in Canadian soldiers when compared with Canadian civilians. The current study utilized data from the Canadian Community Health Survey Cycle 1.2-Canadian Forces Supplement in confunction with the 2001-2002 Canadian Community Health Survey Cycle 1.2. Logistic regression interaction models were used to explore differences between correlates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts comparing Canadian soldiers with civilians. Although there was no significant difference between the two samples on prevalence of past-year suicidal ideation, the prevalence of past-year suicide attempts was significantly lower in the Canadian forces sample compared with the civilian population (odds ratio = 0.41, 95% confidence interval: 0.25, 0.67). findings suggest that suicide attempts are less common in Canadian active military personnel than in the civilian population. Possible mechanisms forthese differences are discussed.
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