Resilience factors, such as emotional hardiness and social support, appear to protect returning military troops from subsequent mental health problems and alcohol overuse, suggesting that interventions after deployment could enhance psychological outcomes, a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers shows.
The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, surveyed 512 service members within three to 12 months of their return from deployment, and then within a year afterwards. The researchers found that “greater hardiness predicted several indicators of better mental health and lower levels of alcohol use six-12 months later.” Post-deployment social support also was tied to better mental health and less post-traumatic stress symptom severity, alcohol and drug use.
Respondents were asked about a number of factors that impact resilience, including childhood stressors, concerns about family and living situations, and combat experiences.
The study found that high resilience appears to “protect returning service members from the negative effects of traumatic exposure.” Interventions to improve resilience after deployment “have the potential to reduce vulnerability to stress and trauma associated with military service, as well as enhance post-military employment, stable housing, and other aspects of community reintegration,” the authors said.
To learn more about the study, go to: http://www.bu.edu/sph/2014/12/15/focus-on-resilience-protects-veterans-new-study-finds