Combat Exposure, Unit Cohesion, and Demographic Characteristics of Soldiers Reporting Posttraumatic Growth

Mary M. Mitchell, M. Shayne Gallaway, Amy M. Millikan, Michael R. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Posttraumatic growth (PTG) refers to the positive cognitive, spiritual, emotional, and social changes that can occur after a traumatic experience. The current study uses data from 1,663 soldiers who participated in a voluntary survey 6 months after redeployment. The purpose of this study was to predict posttraumatic growth from combat exposure, unit cohesion, and demographic characteristics. We found that greater combat exposure and stronger unit cohesion were associated with more PTG. Being married, a minority, and a junior enlisted soldier were also predictive of greater PTG. Our study defines a group of soldiers with low PTG who are at risk for adverse psychosocial problems. Our results suggest that unit cohesion could be targeted and strengthened to improve PTG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-395
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Loss and Trauma
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013

Keywords

  • posttraumatic growth
  • social support
  • soldiers
  • unit cohesion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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