247286 Childhood Trauma and Risk for Suicidal Behavior in US Army Soldiers

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 10:30 AM

Rossybelle Perales, MPH , Biostatistics, University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX
Michael Gallaway, PhD , Behavioral and Social Health Outcomes Program, US Army Public Health Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD
Anita Spiess, MPH , Behavioral and Social Health Outcomes Program, US Army Public Health Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD
Amy Millikan, MD, MPH , Disease Epidemiology, US Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, Aberdeen Proving Ground-Edgewood, MD
In 2009 suicide was reported to be the 3rd leading cause of death among U.S. Army personnel, while it was the 11th leading cause of death in the nation. The alarming increase of suicidal behavior in the Army, indicates the need for additional research to better understand the problem. Research in civilian populations found that experiencing childhood trauma increases the risk for various negative health outcomes, including suicide and suicide attempts, during adulthood. To date there has been very little focus on pre-existing mental health prior to joining the service, due to a lack of existing data. Participants were Army Soldiers who attempted or completed suicide as identified by the Department of Defense Event Report (DoDSER). Soldiers were categorized as having experienced childhood trauma if they experienced any of the following during childhood: mental health problems, abuse, substance abuse, family problems, suicide in family, death in the family, bullying, violence, or having a family member in jail as noted on the DoDSER and other military personnel data. Among Soldiers exhibiting suicidal behavior, analyses were completed to identify significant associations with specific types of childhood trauma experienced prior to joining the Army. Among the more than 3,000 Soldiers exhibiting suicidal behavior approximately 14% of suicides and 28% of attempted suicides experienced childhood trauma. The most common types of childhood trauma among Soldiers were family problems and abuse.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the distribution of childhood trauma among U.S. Army Soldiers exhibiting suicidal behavior (2005-2010). 2. Identify differences in characteristics among those Soldiers with suicidal behavior who did and did not experience childhood trauma.

Keywords: Suicide, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I work as an analyst for the US Army Public Health command for the suicide analysis cell.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.