Determining the relationships between resilience, spirituality, life events, disruptions, demographic characteristics, personal history, and mental health symptoms in active duty soldiers with a recent deployment history
Of the approximately 1 million Army Soldiers who deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan at least one time between 2001 and 2007, 18.5% screened positive for posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms post-deployment (Tanielian et al., 2008). Deployed Soldiers are at a high risk for unsuccessful reintegration as evidenced by the presence of mental health symptoms. Because of the lack of evidence demonstrating the relationships between resilience and other factors that may contribute to mental health outcomes in active duty Soldiers, the purpose of this study was to determine if relationships existed among these variables in Soldiers with a recent deployment history. An adaptation of Richardson’s Metatheory of resilience guided this study. A convenience sample of 350 active duty army junior enlisted and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) who were within 6 - 12 months from returning from deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan and stationed at Fort Campbell were recruited to participate in this cross-sectional, descriptive, correlational study. Seven self-report instruments were used to collect data: (1) Demographic Survey, (2) Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, (3) Deployment Risk and Resiliency Inventory (DRRI), (4) Daily Spiritual Experiences Scale, (5) Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7, (6) Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, and (7) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Military Version. Data were entered into SPSS 18 and analyzed using descriptive statistics, correlations, and hierarchical linear regression. Results revealed many statistically significant correlations. Ten predictors resulted from this analysis and were placed into separate regression analyses with the three mental health outcomes. Each of the mental health outcome variables (anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms) accounted for a significant amount of variance in the other. In addition to PTSD and depression, post-deployment life events, deployment environment, and resilience accounted for the most significant amount of variance in anxiety symptoms. In addition to anxiety and PTSD symptoms, post-deployment life events accounted for the most significant amount of variance in depression symptoms. Deployment environment, post-deployment life events, and post-deployment support accounted for the most significant amount of variance in PTSD symptoms, in addition to anxiety and depression. The implications of the findings and recommendations for future nursing practice, education, and research opportunities are abundant.