Thursday, September 6, 2012

Suicidality and war

“Female soldiers' suicide rate triples when at war”.
Recent research reported in the magazine USA TODAY (March 2011) Gregg Zoroya

This research on US military found

1. When female soldiers deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq the suicide rate triples from 5/100,000 to 15/100,000.

2. When male soldiers deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq there is a 30% increase in the suicide rate from 15/100,000 to 21/100,000.

Jump woman

This could be seen to support the contention that going into a war zone can be used as a way to fulfil the suicide decision:

I will get you to kill me.

Obviously in a war zone there are plenty of people trying to kill you.

Or at least those who have made some kind of suicide decision

Those who are actually deployed may be a self selecting group to some extent. Those who have made this suicide decision will get themselves into the circumstances where they are more likely to be deployed than other non suicidal people in the military. One reason why the suicide rate increases is because the group has selected in more suicidal people.

Clown smoker

In the report the researches say the usual stuff. People deployed to such war zones are more stressed and so forth and this maybe the cause of such statistics. 

There is an alternate explanation. Stress has never made anyone suicidal. What stress can do is make an already suicidal person more likely to act on their self destructive urges. Thus a person who has made the suicide decision is more likely to end up in a war zone and when stressed is more likely to act on that decision. Hence the rate of suicide goes up.


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