Documented family violence and risk of suicide attempt among U.S. Army soldiers

Abstract Suicide attempt (SA) rates in the U.S. Army increased substantially during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This study examined associations of family violence (FV) history with SA risk among soldiers. Using administrative data from the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS), we identified person-month records of active duty, Regular Army, enlisted soldiers with medically documented SAs from 2004 to 2009 (n = 9650) and a sample of control person-months (n = 153,528). Logistic regression analyses examined associations of FV with SA, adjusting for socio-demographics, service-related characteristics, and prior mental health diagnosis. Odds of SA were higher in soldiers with a FV history and increased as the number of FV events increased. Soldiers experiencing past-month FV were almost five times as likely to attempt suicide as those with no FV history. Odds of SA were elevated for both perpetrators and those who were exclusively victims. Male perpetrators had higher odds of SA than male victims, whereas female perpetrators and female victims did not differ in SA risk. A discrete-time hazard function indicated that SA risk was highest in the initial months following the first FV event. FV is an important consideration in understanding risk of SA among soldiers. “