The influence of romantic relationships in assessment of suicide risk in U.S. Army soldiers
Chalker, S. A., Khalifian, C. E., Milano, R., Dende, J., & Jobes, D. A. (2022). The influence of romantic relationships in assessment of suicide risk in U.S. Army Soldiers. Military Psychology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/08995605.2022.2028532
Abstract Created by REACH:
This study explored how romantic relationships and problems that stem from these relationships were implicated in suicidal ideation and self-inflicted injuries among Soldiers. 72 U.S. Army Infantry Soldiers who were seeking help for suicide risk completed the Suicide Status Form (SSF-IV) with a clinician. This form assists clinicians in identifying “drivers” of suicidal ideation and behaviors and, in turn, selecting the focus of clinical treatment. Data from the SSF-IV, as well as additional interviews and assessments of suicidal ideation and self-inflicted injury, were used to identify the frequency with which romantic relationships were reported and how romantic relationships, particularly problems within them, were related to reasons for living vs. reasons for dying, suicidal ideation, and self-inflicted injuries. Romantic relationships were endorsed among 73.6% of the Soldiers on the SSF-IV, meaning that Soldiers reported that their romantic relationships were related to reasons for living and dying, with reasons for living being reported more frequently. Additionally, having romantic relationship problems was related to greater risk of lifetime self-inflicted injuries.
Branch of Service:
Active duty service member
Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)
Cross sectional study
Chalker, Samantha A., Khalifian, Chandra E., Milano, Robert, Dende, Jacqueline, Jobes, David A.
Even though suicide theories highlight the importance of interpersonal connection, little is known about how romantic relationships impact suicide risk among military personal seeking treatment for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Data were drawn from active-duty U.S. Soldier participants with suicidal ideation engaged in a suicide-focused treatment – the Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS). This exploratory study used a mixed-methods approach to examine two aims: (a) frequencies in which romantic relationships were endorsed in the context of the initial the Suicide Status Form (SSF; the multipurpose clinical tool used in CAMS) and (b) if having endorsed romantic relationships were implicated in their suicidal thoughts and self-inflicted injuries regardless of intent (i.e., non-suicidal self-injury and suicide attempts). We found that 76% of participants mentioned a romantic partner in at least one qualitative assessment item on the SSF. More specifically, 22.6% identified their romantic relationship as a reason for living or a reason for dying, and half of those participants indicated that their romantic relationship was both a reason for living and dying. Soldier participants who identified a current romantic relationship problem, were significantly more likely to have made a self-inflicted injury regardless of intent in their lifetime. Overall, suicidal thoughts and behaviors are intertwined with romantic relationship dynamics, and suicide-focused interventions may benefit from directly addressing these relationship issues with active-duty Soldiers.
Taylor & Francis
Department of Mental Health, Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, SAC
University of California San Diego Department of Psychiatry, SAC
Department of Mental Health, Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, CEK
University of California San Diego Department of Psychiatry, CEK
Department of Psychology, The Catholic University of America, RM
Department of Psychology, The Catholic University of America, JD
Department of Psychology, The Catholic University of America, DAJ
suicide, romantic relationships, self-harm
REACH Publication Type:
Department of the Army federal grant [W81XWH-11-1-0164]