HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Are military personnel with a past history of mental health care more vulnerable to the negative psychological effects of combat?

Article

This research questions whether military personnel with past mental health problems are more vulnerable to the effects of combat.

Abstract

Military clinicians often need to assess fitness for duty after a mental disorder diagnosis. The ability to respond to the psychological demands of deployment is a primary consideration. This analysis explores whether personnel with past mental health problems are more vulnerable to the effects of combat. Past mental health care and combat were strongly and independently associated with both primary outcomes, but no statistically significant interaction was seen for either. The effects of past mental health and combat on post-deployment mental health are simply additive. Those with past mental health problems are not, on average, more vulnerable to the effects of combat. The variability in outcome at the individual level and the treatability of common mental disorders argue for an individualized approach to fitness-for-duty decisions.

Full Reference

Zamorski, M. A., Watkins, K., & Rusu, C. (2015) Are military personnel with a past history of mental health care more vulnerable to the negative psychological effects of combat?. Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health, 1(1), 14-25.