A Systematic Review of Risk and Protective Factors For Self-Harm and Suicide Behaviours Among Serving and Ex-Serving Military Personnel of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand: [Poster] P153

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Abstract

Introduction: Self-harm and suicide behaviours are major
global health concerns. The aetiology and onset of these
behaviours are complex and often multifaceted. Although
military service places substantial demands on personnel and
involves unique occupational experiences, often self-harm
and suicide rates in this group are lower or comparable to
the general population. There remains a paucity of research
exploring self-harm and suicide behaviours among several
military populations outside of the United States. This review
aimed to identify the risk and protective factors associated
with self-harm and suicidal behaviours among serving and
ex-serving military personnel of the United Kingdom (UK),
Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Methods: A systematic review was conducted in October 2022
in accordance with an a priori PROSPERO approved review
protocol (CRD42022348867). Seven electronic databases were
searched to identify relevant studies. Papers were retained if
they (1) identified the risk and/or protective factors associated
with self-harm and suicide behaviours, (2) reported on
outcomes of self-harm, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and/
or completed suicide, (3) reported on populations of serving
and/or ex-serving personnel of the UK, Canada, Australia and
New Zealand, and (4) peer-reviewed papers, published in
English between 1st January 2001 and 30th September 2022.
Results: In total, the searches returned 4,576 papers, with 28
identified for inclusion after all stages of screening. Of these
papers, the majority were from the UK and Canada. Papers
reported on samples of ex-serving personnel (n=12), serving
personnel (n=8), or both (n=8), and used all or majority
male samples (approximately 85% to 100% male). Research
identified several risk factors, including physical and mental
health diagnoses, childhood abuse exposure, holding a junior rank during service, exposure to deployment-related traumatic
events, and having a shorter length of service. Several
protective factors were identified, including higher levels of
perceived social support, being educated to a higher degree,
being employed, being married/in a relationship, and holding
a more senior rank during service, but protective factors were
not as widely researched.
Conclusions: This review highlights several risk and protective
factors for self-harm and suicide behaviours which warrant
attention. Adequate care and support are necessary for
serving and ex-serving personnel potentially at risk of
experiencing self-harm and/or suicide behaviours. The
protective factors suggest that prevention and intervention
strategies should promote social networks as a key source
of support for military personnel. More research is needed,
particularly in regard to protective factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages88-88
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventCanadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) Forum 2023 -
Duration: 16 Oct 202318 Oct 2023
https://cimvhrforum.ca/

Conference

ConferenceCanadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) Forum 2023
Abbreviated titleCIMVHR FORUM
Period16/10/202318/10/2023
Internet address

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