School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)


Margaret Gopaul


suicide, military, psychospiritual, religiosity, hope, despair


Psychology | Rehabilitation and Therapy


Military is a profession that requires stable mental state as a prerequisite for active military life. However, suicide rate among active members and veterans has significantly increased despite traditional measures such as psychotherapies, medications and government sponsored incentives. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the correlation of psychospiritual factors (spiritual, religious factors and psychological beliefs) and suicide risks among military members. Participants were 18 years or older and members of the United States military base stationed in Kentucky. Data collection involved the used a paper-based survey to measure spiritual and religious affiliations and activities, church attendance, prayer and suicide risk. Spiritual and religious factors were measured using the Duke University Religious Index (DURI) and suicide risk was measured using Suicide Risk Questionnaire Screening for Military Mental Health. Pearson’s r correlation design was used to analyze the data from participants (n=126). The Pearson’s r correlation revealed a significant relationship between psychospiritual factors and suicide risk r(124) = -.550, p < 0.001. Since the “sig” value 0.001 was below the alpha level 0.05, this is indicated a negative correlation between psychospiritual factors and suicide risk and the null hypothesis was rejected. Therefore, psychospiritual factors such as the support of religious and spiritual activities were shown to be protective factors for suicide. This study’s findings provide valuable insight for the national association of suicidal intervention, paramilitary institutions, chaplains, and practitioners by highlighting the need to consider psychospiritual factors when assessing and treating members of the military.