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Research Proposal Jessica Hailey

10 March 2014
ENGL 1102

1. Inquiry Question: What stressors lead to the suicide rate in the United States Air
Force Active Duty versus Reserves? Are the rates significantly different? Why?
2. Purpose:
My main goal is to get an understanding of why there is an increase of suicide
awareness in the Air Force. I have many arguments as to why there should not be
a suicide rate, but I cant think of why a person would want to take his or her own
life in the Air Force. I say this because the Air Force is known to be one of the
easiest branches of service to ever participate in. Its primarily because were
more on the political side of things; its not as physically demanding as the other
branches, Airmen have more say in what they do and dont want to do, etc.
3. Fact Questions:
How much training is required to prevent suicide in the Air Force?
How often is the training required?
Has the rate of suicide attempts lessened since training was implemented?
What career field is mostly affected by depression/suicidal thoughts?
What stressors are associated the most with suicide attempts in the Air Force?
4. 2 Sources:
Air Force Suicide Prevention Program/AFPAM 44-160: Published and
released in April 2001, this handbook was submitted to heighten the
awareness of the suicide rate more profoundly amongst Active Duty and
Reserves Airmen. It is packed with alarming information, such as, in the
beginning of the 1990s, about 24% of Airmen committed suicide. It also
breaks down the Air Forces proposal to help reduce the suicide rate. This
include additional training, so that Airmen would be mindful that the issue is
not an alien one and Airmen who may struggle with suicidal thoughts can get
help with no penalty.
Adolescent Brain Development by Jeannie Van Stultz, PhD: In trying to
figure out what makes a person want to commit suicide, I thought it might be
important to get a perspective on what most likely happens in the minds of
most young Airmen. When I was in Active Duty, I realized that the majority
of us joined almost immediately after high school. The majority of my peers
in boot camp were 18 or 19 years old. Well over 80% of us were in our
adolescence stage. As for the distinct few, many of them were in their late
20s. I also thought it was interesting that the older Airmen entered the Air
Force to become a part of the Reserves as compared to us who were
adolescent; the majority of 18 through early 20 year olds were Active Duty
enlistees. In Dr. Von Stultzs lecture, she brings up very distinctive points
about the decision-making and critical thinking process of adolescent people. I
primarily found this video most interesting because from my personal
experience in Active Duty as well as the Reserves, I can see how most of her
claims are true. She expounds on how more developed adults often make
decisions through more in depth thought, whereas the majority of adolescent
individuals make decisions based off emotion and are often times impulsive.
In boot camp, the way older Airmen thought, trained and reacted was subtler
than adolescent Airmen. This made me wonder, did they know something that
we didnt know? I used to wonder why they signed up for part-time military
when they can make more money on Active Duty (so I thought).
5. Working Knowledge:
This past weekend, I interviewed a Reserves Chaplain, an Active Duty spouse an
Active Duty as well as a Reserves Airman. Even with the amount of research and
interviews Ive conducted so far, Im still having a hard time understanding why
people find suicide as a solution. It seems like the more I research, the broader my
topic gets. But it still sparks my interest, so Im going to continue to look into it.