Factors that Influence Chaplains’ Suicide Intervention Behavior in the Army

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Abstract

We surveyed 868 Army chaplains and 410 chaplain assistants (CAs) about their role in identifying, caring for, and referring soldiers at risk of suicide to behavioral health care. We applied structural equation modeling to identify how behaviors and attitudes related to intervention behavior. In both samples, reluctance and stigma were related to intervention behaviors; efficacy was correlated with intervention behaviors only among chaplains. Training was associated with increased efficacy and lower levels of stigma among chaplains. Improved training may be warranted, but research needs to identify why chaplains and CAs are reluctant to refer soldiers in distress to behavioral health care.

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