The effects of PTSD in military service members in Operation Iraqi Freedom
MacGregor, Andrew J., Richard A. Shaffer, Amber L. Dougherty, Michael R. Galarneau, Rema Raman, Dewleen G. Baker, Suzanne P. Lindsay, Beatrice A. Golomb, and Karen S. Corson. 2009. "Psychological Correlates of Battle and Nonbattle Injury Among Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans." Military Medicine 174, no. 3: 224-231. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed August 15, 2011).
Because post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs more in military personnel and most in those who are injured, MacGregor et al. seek to study the prevalence of PTSD, its correlates and related mental health challenges, diagnoses of mood and anxiety disorders, and of related symptoms of psychological morbidity. It is notable that the study sample drew only from injured personnel that were male and drew a larger number of nonbattle-injured than battle-injured participants. Their injuries were also ranked according to an Injury Severity Score. Sample questions were provided. The data analysis was impeccable, utilizing multiple checks of each analysis with different variables being sorted out (by the software) as categorical or continuous. Most of the injuries were among junior personnel ranked between E1 and E5. Returning veterans with PTSD- Marines especially- were also less likely to answer the Post-Deployment Health Assessments which are used to identify possible complications of battle experience. In those who did self-report, more than 30 percent of the injured veterans exhibited negative mental effects. Follow-up and clarity of definitions was one challenge which briefly addressed but not thoroughly conveyed.
Renshaw, Keith D., Camila S. Rodrigues, and David H. Jones. 2009. "Combat exposure, psychological symptoms, and marital satisfaction in National Guard soldiers who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2005 to 2006." Anxiety, Stress & Coping 22, no. 1: 101-115. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed August 15, 2011).
Renshaw et al. chose to focus on direct effects of combat experience and psychology in relation to marital satisfaction and divorce. It is unsurprising that the incidences of post-traumatic stress disorder, mounting need for health care, and greater unemployment place significant stress upon the marriages of returning soldiers. National Guard (NG) troops were found to be at higher risk due to lower levels of traumatic exposure and desensitization. The authors point out that special arrangements which allow for more rest upon their return also leave many NG soldiers without immediate post-deployment care and ably demonstrate the gaps in the existing literature. Using 5 credible scales and checklists, the study concluded that, on average, the soldiers’ scores placed them in the moderate range of combat exposure, although nearly half were placed in the moderate or higher range.
Barnes, Vernon A., Harry Davis, and Frank A. Treiber. 2007. "Perceived Stress, Heart Rate, and Blood Pressure among Adolescents with Family Members Deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom." Military Medicine 172, no. 1: 40-43. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed August 17, 2011).
Barnes, Davis, and Treiber examine the adverse psychological and physical effects which military deployment can have on veterans’ family and dependents. Previous research has examined these effects but without the comparison against civilian norms. This study could have easily stacked its research; adolescent civilian stress should be drastically lower in most cases. The inclusion of other military and civilian dependent categories produces a continuum of stress which balances this risk. However, the authors chose to study questionnaires and evaluations from the very beginning and the very end of the conflict- at which times much of stress may be much better or worse, depending upon the family. The authors acknowledge the possible role of other independent variables, such as support and anxiety about future deployments.
Martin, Jeffery, Marjan Ghahramanlou-Holloway, Kathryn Lou, and Paulette Tucciarone. 2009. "A Comparative Review of U.S. Military and Civilian Suicide Behavior: Implications for OEF/OIF Suicide Prevention Efforts." Journal of Mental Health Counseling 31, no. 2: 101-118. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed August 16, 2011).
Martin et al. assert that the suicide, the second leading cause of death in the US military, may even be 21 percent higher than the current statistics show- due to statistical and reporting errors. Of the thousands of returning veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), about 1 in 100 will fixate on and/or consider suicide. The authors briefly explain these risk factors according to demographic status, pre-dating psychological status, behavioral, psychological features, the experience of stressful life events, access to lethal means, and social support and connectedness. The authors’ look at the few available OIF data sources revealed that women with traumatic interpersonal and social relations in the past were more likely to exhibit post-combat shifts in suicide ideation and aggression, status, and previous combat experience more often put men at risk. The authors also discovered that- of a random sample of 100 military patients admitted for suicide ideation or attempts- half of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s patients returned to active duty after discharge. The authors further charge that PTSD and the stigma against seeking mental health help are most likely significant contributors in OIF suicides. Finally, Martin et al. examine the simple supervisory techniques for recognizing those at risk of suicide and for providing readily-available information about seeking help.
TRUITT, MICHAEL S., VAN JOHNSON, MANUEL RIVERA, ALICIA MANGRAM, MANUEL LORENZO, and ERNEST DUNN. 2011. "Civilian and Military Trauma: Does Civilian Training Prepare Surgeons for the Battlefield?." American Surgeon 77, no. 1: 19-21. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed August 16, 2011).
Truitt et al. identify that, although trauma care is an integral part of any civilian surgical training, the perceived efficacy of these measures has not been researched. The study drew from statistical evidence to analyze whether this trauma training prepared surgeons for the range of injuries commonly seen during military trauma. With a piercing use of facts, the authors demonstrate that the differences in context between civilian and military trauma centers is of, quite literally, different caliber. In addition, Truitt et al. demonstrate that differences in treatment procedures are common, and experience with battlefield injuries requires a new approach to trauma and an ability to cope with alien traumas from high-caliber weaponry, shrapnel, and IEDs.