• Childhood determinants of suicidality: comparing males in military and civilian employed populations

      Syed Sheriff, Rebecca (2018)
      BackgroundTo better understand the associations of childhood trauma and childhood disorder with past-year suicidality (thoughts, plans or attempts), we compared male military and civilian populations aged 18–60 years old.MethodsData derived from the 2010 Australian Defence Force (ADF) Mental Health Prevalence and Wellbeing Study and the 2007 Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing were compared using logistic regression and Generalized Structural Equation Modelling (GSEM).ResultsA greater proportion of the ADF experienced suicidality than civilians. Those who experienced childhood trauma that was not interpersonal in nature were not at increased odds of suicidality, in either population. A higher proportion of the ADF experienced three or more types of trauma in childhood and first experienced three or more types of trauma in adulthood. Both were associated with suicidality in the ADF and civilians. Childhood anxiety had a strong and independent association with suicidality in the ADF (controlling for demographics and childhood trauma, adult trauma and adult onset disorder). Childhood anxiety fully mediated the relationship between childhood trauma and suicidality in the ADF, but not in civilians.ConclusionsThese data highlight the need to take a whole life approach to understanding suicidality, and the importance of categorizing the nature of childhood trauma exposure. Importantly, childhood anxiety was not only associated with suicidality, it fully mediated the relationship between childhood trauma and suicidality in the more trauma exposed (military) population only. These findings have the potential to inform the development of strategies for suicide prevention.