Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2001 Spring;31(1):103-12.

Are UN peacekeepers at risk for suicide?

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

Media reports connecting UN peacekeeping duties by Canadian soldiers to their subsequent suicide prompted this study of peacekeeping as suicide risk. In a case-control design we retrospectively compared 66 suicides in the Canadian military between 1990 and 1995 with two control groups: (a) 2,601 controls randomly selected from the electronic military database and (b) 66 matched controls with complete personnel and medical data. We found no increased risk of suicide in peacekeepers except among a subgroup of air force personnel. Here confounding individual factors, isolation from supports, and possibly inadequate preparation for deployment elucidated their suicides. Theater of deployment (e.g., Bosnia) did not affect the suicide rate. Military suicides experienced psychosocial stresses and psychiatric illness more often than their matched controls. We conclude that although peacekeeping per se does not increase overall suicide risk, military life-styles may strain interpersonal relationships, encourage alcohol abuse, and contribute to psychiatric illness and suicide in a minority of vulnerable individuals irrespective of peacekeeping assignment. Careful selection, and preparatory military training that encourages intragroup bonding and mutual support, may protect against suicide risk.

PMID:
11326764
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk