Factors That Influence Chaplains' Suicide Intervention Behavior in the Army

Published in: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, v. 46, no. 1, Feb. 2016, p. 35-45

Posted on RAND.org on March 14, 2016

by Rajeev Ramchand, Lynsay Ayer, Lily Geyer, Aaron Kofner

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.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.