Accession Number:



Patterns of Change in User-Generated Social Media Behavior among Service Members Who Die by Suicide

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,01 May 2015,01 May 2016

Corporate Author:

Defense Personnel and Security Research Center Seaside United States

Report Date:


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This is a secondary analysis of a retrospective study examining social media posts made by military Service members 1 year prior to their deaths. The sample consisted of 700 randomly selected military Service members who died by suicide and a demographically-matched control group of 700 military Service members who died of causes other than suicide. Social media data were previously coded by staff and students at the University of Utahs National Center for Veterans Studies NCVS. The present study used data analytic methods consistent with dynamic systems modeling and were aimed at identifying suicide-specific change processes that could predict manner of death suicide vs. control and the imminence of suicide death 6 months prior to 1 day prior. Findings identified long-term, medium-term, and imminent signatures of emerging suicide death, suggesting there may be observable change processes in social media behavior that could signal eventual suicide.

Subject Categories:

  • Psychology
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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