Suicide Typologies in the United States Air Force: A Hierarchical Cluster Analysis

Jeffery S. Martin, Laura A. Novak, Kanchana Perera, Cara H. Olsen, Michael T. Kindt, Jessica M. LaCroix, Layne Bennion, Su Yeon Lee-Tauler, Marjan Ghahramanlou-Holloway*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: This study describes characteristics of United States Air Force (USAF) suicide decedents and determines subgroups. Method: Retrospective review of demographic, psychiatric, event-related, and psychosocial variables for USAF suicide decedents in the Suicide Event Surveillance System database was conducted between February 1999 and July 2009 (N = 376). Hierarchical cluster analysis was used to determine initial clusters and cluster centroids. Results: Analyses identified three clusters. Cluster 1 (n = 149) individuals were mostly single or divorced, E-1-E-6 rank, living alone, and less likely to have psychiatric disorder diagnoses or engage with most helping resources. Cluster 2 (n = 126) decedents were mostly married, living with a partner, higher ranking, and least likely to communicate suicide intent. Cluster 3 (n = 101) individuals were mostly E-4-E-6 rank, with the highest rates of most psychiatric diagnoses, previous suicide-related events, engagement with multiple helping resources, communication of intent, and psychosocial precipitants. Clusters differed significantly in marital status, rank, psychiatric diagnoses, precipitants, service utilization, previous suicide-related events, risk factors, communication of intent, location and method of death, and residential status. Conclusions: This study identifies empirically based suicide typologies within a military decedent sample. While further research and replications of findings are needed, these typologies have clinical and policy implications for military suicide prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1707-1720
Number of pages14
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Suicide Typologies in the United States Air Force: A Hierarchical Cluster Analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this