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Suicide Rate Triples for Female Soldiers at War

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grieving soldier

According to the study, female soldiers that are married are less likely to commit suicide.  I believe that it is not so much the fact that the female is married, but her family and support system. Family stress can cause a huge burden for females, especially when a deployed female soldier is a single mother. This is a very important issue and studies like this will help our military combat suicide.

Suicide rate triples for female soldiers at war
But Army data show male counterparts’ risk is higher

The suicide rate for female soldiers triples when they go to war, according to the first round of preliminary data from an Army study.

The findings, released to USA Today this week, show that the suicide rate rises from five per 100,000 to 15 per 100,000 among female soldiers at war. Scientists are not sure why but say they will look into whether women feel isolated in a male-dominated war zone or suffer greater anxieties about leaving behind children and other loved ones.

Even so, the suicide risk for female soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan is still lower than for men serving next to them, the $50 million study says.

Findings also show that marriage somehow helps inoculate male and female soldiers from killing themselves while they are overseas. While these death rates among GI’s who are single or divorced double when they go to war, the rate among married soldiers does not increase, according to the study.

Scientists say they hope these and other findings will help them tease out protective social patterns — such as, for example, that sense in a marriage of mattering to someone else — that can be encouraged or instilled in all soldiers to lower the risk of suicide.

“One of the big things we’re interested in now is digging into this marriage thing and saying, ‘What is it you get, by being married? And how could we put it in a bottle so we can give it to everybody, whether or not they’re married,” says Ronald Kessler, a psychiatric epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School who is working on the project.

A key goal of the five-year research effort, led by the National Institute of Mental Health, is to identify categories of soldiers most at risk for suicide. The Army suicide rate has more than doubled since 2004 from 10- to 22-per-100,000 among active-duty soldiers, surpassing the rate for civilians of the same age and gender.

This first slice of data from the study, drawn from Army records on 389 active-duty suicides between 2004 and 2008, is only a small piece of a sweeping research effort that will eventually include tracking between 30,000 and 50,000 soldiers from basic training onward, says Philip Wang, NIMH deputy director. Other findings:

• Suicide rates among men increase from 15- to 21-per-100,000 when they deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan.

• Soldiers of Asian descent have dramatically higher suicide rates than other racial groups.

Source: By Gregg Zoroya – USA Today http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2011/03/usat-suicide-rate-triples-for-female-soldiers-at-war-031711/

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