Suicides between 2010 and 2014 in the German Armed Forces—comparison of suicide registry data and a German Armed Forces survey


Gerd-Dieter Willmund, Julius Heß, Christian Helms, Florian Wertenauer, Anja Seiffert, Almut Nolte, Ulrich Wesemann, Peter L Zimmermann.


textbfBackground The last 10 years have seen an increase in the number of suicides in the US Armed Forces. Accordingly, the topic of suicides in the German military has received a lot of attention in media and science alike. textbfMethods This study retrospectively examined all suicides (N = 107) committed by active, nonretired German military personnel from 2010 to the end of 2014, analyzing archived medical records. In a second step, these data were compared to a representative German Armed Forces survey conducted in 2012 (N = 1,549). textbfResults The following risk groups for suicide were identified: male (OR = 9.6), single (OR = 7.8), aged over 45 years (OR = 4.0), short period of service (textless2 years; OR = 2.7), and low level of education (OR = 2.2). Surprisingly, military personnel with little experience in deployments abroad (textless2 missions) showed double the risk (OR = 2.0) compared to those who had been deployed more than once. Discussion Multiple robustness checks show that being single, aged over 45 years, and having obtained a low level of education exhibit the most robust effects on suicide risk. textbfConclusion Efforts should be made to develop and evaluate risk group‐focused prevention programs. We conclude, that further studies should be initiated to show differences of risk groups between lethal and nonlethal suicidal behavior. ALLEMAGNE EUROPE SUICIDE-COMPLÉTÉ MILITAIRE PRÉVALENCE TENDANCE ÉTUDE-RÉTROSPECTIVE FACTEUR-RISQUE FACTEUR-SOCIODÉMOGRAPHIQUE

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