Vojnosanitetski pregled 2010 Volume 67, Issue 7, Pages: 548-557
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Soldiers suicides risk factors in the Serbian Army Forces

Dedić Gordana, Panić Milivoj

Background/Aim. Analyses of suicide risk factors enable to undertake appropriate preventive measures within the Suicide Prevention Program in Military Environment, which was fully applied in 2003 in the Serbian Army Forces. The aim of our study was to identify the most important suicide risk factors in soldiers within the period from 1998 to 2007. Methods. Analysis of suicide risk factors was carried out on the basis of data obtained by psychological suicide autopsy. The control group was matched with adapted soldiers by socio-demographic factors. A descriptive statistical analysis was used. Comparison of groups of soldiers was done by the t-test and Pearson's χ2-test. Results. A total of 35 soldiers aged 22-49 years (21.76 ± 1.76 years on average) committed suicide within the period 1999-2007, the 2/3 within, and 1/3 out of a military compound. More than one half soldiers committed suicide after transferring to a different post. Soldiers who committed suicide had come from uncompleted, dysfunctional families (p < 0.05). In comparison with the adapted soldiers, in premilitary period they had more interpersonal problems with their comrades (p < 0.001) and problems with law (p < 0.05). During military service, alcohol consumption was less presented; they used to have fewer separation problems (p < 0.05) and to be rarely awarded (p < 0.001) in comparison with the adapted soldiers. A soldier who committed suicide was emotionally and socially immature persons. The commonest motives for suicide were: decreased capacity of adaptation to military service, actual psychic disturbance, emotional interruption, fear of environment judgment, actual family problems, but in the one fifth, motive stayed unrecognized. Conclusion. Suicide risk factors in soldiers are primary in their immature personality organization, its relation with family and military environment factors which, in coexistence with actual life accidents, result in suicide as a consequence. A suicide prevention program in Serbian Army Forces should be designed to prevent multiple suicide risk factors.

Keywords: military personnel, suicide, risk factors

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