Unit cohesion appears to be an important factor in determining whether soldiers think about suicide during a period after combat exposure, according to a study presented at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting.
U.S. Army researchers surveyed more than 1,600 soldiers from two combat brigades who had been deployed once. The survey was designed to measure of combat exposure, unit cohesion and self-reported thoughts of suicide. Soldiers who reported higher combat exposure and lower unit cohesion had the greatest odds for reporting suicidal thoughts during the previous four weeks. In addition, soldiers with similar combat exposure were more likely to have suicidal thoughts if they reported less unit cohesion.
The research was scheduled for presentation Tuesday, May 17, at the 164th American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, which is in Honolulu May 14-18.