This is a qualitative, interview-based study designed to determine the extent to which three theoretical constructs - habituation to painful stimuli, perceived burdensomeness, and failed belongingness - are relevant to female veterans who have returned from OEF/OIF deployments. Joiner (2005) has proposed that the combination of those three factors is necessary and sufficient for an individual to engage in self-harm behaviors. Part I of this study, which explored Joiner's model among primarily male Veterans, is complete. Part II of the study will be a replication of Part I, but will instead be exploring Joiner's model in a female veteran population. The intention is to conduct a series of studies leading up to a full test of Joiner's model in a veteran population. OEF/OIF female veterans will be interviewed in an effort to determine how they understand these constructs and the language they use in discussing them.
Parts I and II of this study are necessary to determine that the key constructs are pertinent to veterans' experiences in general. It is also essential to identify the language they use when talking about these constructs. This information may be used in future studies to design veteran-specific measures. Using language which is meaningful to the population being studied increases the validity of a new measure and is considered good psychometric procedure (DeVellis, 2003; Haynes, Richard, & Kubany, 1995). In addition, interviewing female veterans from the overall population of those receiving mental health services will increase the generalizability of future measures that are developed. Presuming Joiner's model is correct, participating in the interview may lead female veterans to spontaneously indicate that these factors could lead a person to think seriously about suicide. This possibility is despite the fact that the study will not be specifically targeting suicidal veterans or the fact that none of the questions ask about suicide or suicide-related behavior.