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Zentella Yoly


Suicide is of great concern nationally and has become a significant social problem within the last 10years. One group of growing concern is those who served in the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the impact of a suicide attempt on their career retention. Previous studies had focused on potential risk factors that may lead an individual to attempt suicide, but there was limited research on the impact of a suicide attempt on an individual's career retention. It was unknown if the desire of USCG veterans to retain their career can primarily influence their decision not to attempt suicide. The experiential impact of suicide on the career retention of the participants was examined in this study. The study method was planned to be a qualitative phenomenological study but changed to a qualitative descriptive design. The theoretical framework comprised an application of Joiner's interpersonal psychological theory of suicidal behavior and Tinto's integration model for retention relevance and practical implications. Semistructured interviews were used to collect data from 12 USCG veterans to address the primary research question as to the lived experience of USCG members who have attempted suicide while on active duty that are currently veterans. NVivo analysis indicated that participants experienced difficulties with career, work, and personal relationships before their suicide attempt. Themes were similar for participants who stayed or left service after a suicide attempt. The results also indicated that all participants needed to receive support from people in their life after the attempts. Data suggested peer support was critical for retention and contributed to the promotion of a confident, healthy workforce and social growth in communities and society after an attempted suicide.

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