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Modifiable Risk and Protective Factors for Suicidal Behaviors in the US Army

a PSC Research Project

Investigators:   Steven Heeringa, Mick P. Couper, Trivellore Raghunathan

The University of Michigan is collaborating with several organizations -- Uniformed Services University, Harvard, and Columbia -- to design a project to study the correlates and precursors of suicide, suicide attempts, and other mental health issues among members of the US Army.  The proposed project includes multiple data collection components across multiple modes: 1) self-administered computerized assessments completed in a group setting with all new Army recruits during basic training "Reception Week" over a 3-year period; n = ~300,000, plus the collection of ~60,000 saliva samples; 2) a cross-section of all Army personnel done through group administrations on large installations, web administrations, and interviewer-administered telephone interviews over a period of three months; n = ~60,000; 3) on-going panel interviews with family and friends of selected Army respondents, both web and telephone administrations; n = ~400,000; 4) in-depth clinical interviews with family and significant others of service members who died due to suicide, combat-related death, or other sudden death -- done in-person or, when travel is prohibitive, via video conference or telephone; n = ~3,000; 5) a series of high-risk follow-up surveys with a subsample of Army respondents believed to have high and low risk of suicide; expected that six of these surveys will be completed, with n = ~10,000 for each.


Michigan staff will be involved in all aspects of the project, including overall design, instrument development and testing (including programming of all computer-assisted questionnaires and sample management systems), actual data collection across all components, and data documentation, analysis, and archiving.  This is a 5-year project, with data collection starting in Year 1 and continuing into the first portion of Year 5. 

Funding Period: 07/16/2009 to 06/30/2015

Country of Focus: USA

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