Soldiers who kill themselves: The contribution of dispositional and situational factors

Ehud Bodner, Elisheva Ben-Artzi, Zeev Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The present study compared characteristics of combatant and non-combatant Israeli soldiers (ages 18-21), who committed suicide ( N = 429) with others who did not commit suicide ( N = 499). Measures of pre-military psychological characteristics and data reflecting adjustment to service were culled from army records. Findings indicated that, in comparison to non-suicide soldiers (NS-soldiers), soldiers who committed suicide (S-soldiers) had greater behavioral adjustment and motivation to serve. In addition, as compared to non-combatant S-soldiers, combatant S-soldiers had fewer referrals for psychological evaluation, higher sense of duty and autonomy scores and fewer unit changes. Excessive motivation to excel in the army, and the tendency to be autonomous and independent, may account for suicide among combatant S-soldiers, whereas personality weaknesses may have an impact on suicide among non-combatants. Practical implications for the disclosure of suicide risk and for preventive efforts in both groups are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-43
Number of pages15
JournalArchives of Suicide Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Dispositions
  • Motivation
  • Soldiers
  • Suicides


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