Psycho Social Factors Influencing Depression among the British Army
Equally, observational studies conducted on the military personnel to find out and explore the stress levels, the rate of depression, social support systems, and resilience were equally captured. Assessment of the quality of the study was carried out and the elements that impact depression were qualitatively and quantitatively synthesized. Forty-five participants were used to exploit the dynamics of the research. Social support and need factors were seen to be the main influencers of depression. Although existing studies offer explanations on factors that are likely to expose soldiers to stressful circumstances, for example, beliefs, addiction to alcohol, and hindrances to treatment facilities, there is still much that requires to be covered on areas of depression associated with armed forces. This is an indication that more service men and women prefer staying away from organizations that are likely to assist them in dealing with their situation and even improvi9g it.
Several psychological concepts have been utilized to explore the increase in depression levels among armed forces, which includes the navy, defense force, royal force, special force, and the air force they include the following; the Health Belief Model and the Self-Regulation Model. Some of the sociological models that have been employed in these studies include the following; the Kadushin’s theory and the Pescosolido’s Network Episode Model (Chapman, Elnitsky, Thurman, Pitts, Figley, & Unwin, 2014). These models were developed with an aim of identifying causes of depression and reasons why depressed individuals find it necessary to visit professional psychiatrists. The models view it necessary to exploit items that predispose people to circumstances that lead to mental distress, the need to get societal support, and the behavior of patients towards making decisions concerning accessing the healthcare facilities.
Fu and Parahoo (2009) argue that social support system is fundamental in facilitating or hindering the impact of depression on the people serving in the army. It is equally significant to note the importance of social structure, for example, the family unit in influencing the level of mental distress. Expertise considerations regarding the continued changes in the working environment are viewed through analyzed structural perceptions. However, there are perceived needs that are motivated by the individual opinion on the need to seek professional advice and attention concerning the issue of depression. The model utilized herein is common to psychology and sociology studies that are inclined towards offering a systematic exploration of the subject. The primary objective of this study was to employ both qualitative and quantitative framework to investigate the factors that impact depression among British military personnel.
Therefore, it captures both contextual and individual features associated with the emotional issues faced by service men and women during and after their deployment to different places. This study addresses three main questions; first, which are the major traits that are associated with the military personnel suffering from depression and depressive symptoms? Second, what are the situational and work-related factors that lead to mental distress among British army? Third, how are the aforementioned features related to the continued cases of depression among the military personnel? Moreover, the findings herein expand upon the arguments in the existing studies in two major ways; first, it integrates the outcomes in different models and explores different approaches to draw conclusions (Ainsworth, 2000). Second, it systematically reviews observational research by employing standard instruments to examine the issue of depression and synthesizes the results in a homogenous population.
Literature Review Since 1996, both the Academic Department for Military Mental Health and the King’s College London’s Centre for Military Research have been responsible for the exploration of the health of the military population. It is notable that improved medical services with the military structure increase the number of persons who survive the injuries. Various studies have indicated that people evacuated from the battleground due to physical injury have a high chance of experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (Simpson, Quigley, Henry, & Hall, 2013). However, there is still no research showing the long-term effects of the sustained injuries on depression and other mental related issues. Different researchers believe that using longitudinal studies to explore the long-term psychological results is critical. Therefore, the database kept by the two organizations; the Academic Department for Military Mental Health and the King’s College London’s Centre for Military Research is essential.
Some units in the combat were reported to have low cases of post-traumatic stress disorder, for example, the royal marines. Studies show that this resilience has been contributed by the tight recruitment procedures, fewer pre-enlistment risk issues, and stronger ties between members. Even though there have been suggestions to establish tough pre-deployment screen techniques to identify people that are at the risk of being affected by combat challenges, there is lack of evidence to support the effectiveness of the method. According to McCauley, Hughes, and Liebling-Kalifani (2010), there is a close relationship between depression and bullying in the armed forces. A survey conducted in 2013 showed that ten percent of officers in the service reported having been discriminated, harassed, or bullied while carrying out their duties.
These individuals usually face a higher risk of being excluded socially and consistent ill health. A study on the service men and women that were deployed in the Middle East indicated that their mental health was the same to the soldiers that were still in service. However, the prevalence of depression among the veterans was reported to be greater than those individuals that were still serving, nineteen and twelve percent respectively. The armed forces ensure that all ex-service people are linked to professionals that help them to adapt to the changes in their lives. In the British army culture, alcohol consumption is considered as a critical part of the system where the service men and women are encouraged to drink moderately and responsibly so that to enhance cohesion among members, promote comradeship, and establish tight social bonds.
The ministry of defense utilizes exhaustive techniques to counter the issue of alcohol misuse. In severe situations, detoxification of patients is always recommended. The ex-servicemen and women are encouraged to join social support groups where treatment and advice are freely provided. For example, the United Kingdom has established a foundation known as Addaction through the Royal British Legion to ensure all alcohol-related matters facing the veterans are expansively explored (Simpson, Quigley, Henry, & Hall, 2013). The program is designed in a manner that the ex-servicemen and women are used as role models to provide support for individuals affected by substance abuse. Dakkak and Izutsu (2008), argues that having a member of a family in the service has a high tendency of changing the social structure that can make the person in the army to exhibit symptoms of depression.
The family unit gets strained more so on never-ending cycles of separation as a result of deployment, thereby making it difficult for the family to adjust. Previous studies show that many service personnel prefer leaving the army because of the reigning impact of the service life on their families. Several studies on the influence of military personnel o the mental health of their families have been carried out, for example, first, “research on the children’s attitudes to having either parent in the army,” which argues that the children get affected by the distance and absence of the parent. Second, “impact of a parent serving in the military on the education and behavior of children,” which indicated that children may adapt alien characters and perform dismally in school.
Therefore, senior officers should monitor the service men and women during their tours to ensure they are all operating under the required conditions. Good leadership, high morale, and close ties among the troops lower the possibility of depression within the army. Studies have shown that exploring depression while the soldiers are in combat is more beneficial compared to suggesting evacuation of affected individuals. After deployment, the military personnel needs to be allowed to stay a little longer on the campus to give them more space to readjust to the home like conditions. According to the ministry of defense, the service men and women are taken to a new location where they undergo decompression for twenty-four to thirty-six hours, which helps them to unwind and feel homely.
Some are affected by limitations such as stigma, barriers to access to care, and negative attitudes regarding treatment. Research on the transition services indicates that it is essential for military personnel to have single contact area so that to avoid the likelihood of being confused by a lot of information from different quarters. The report also shows that there is a more unified structure that is used by caregivers and charities to person’s affected by depression. Most studies have indicated that stigma is a major hindrance to people that wish to seek treatment. Many individuals do not want to be seen as weak because it will affect their career progression. A study on the effectiveness of the charities indicated that their background on the experiences of ex-service me and women was essential.
For individuals who left the service at an early age, continued therapy was considered to be more fruitful. All people who were referred to these programs showed a positive change in their lives, an indication that the charities delivered. It is important to note that the institutions are playing a significant role in day to day operations of the service personnel. Beliefs are likely to expose military personnel to circumstances that cause the occurrence of depression and even limit their willingness to seek professional help. A study on the relationship between age and vulnerability to suffering from depression was computed among different age groups. The research showed that there was a greater relationship between the age and the possibility of being depressed.
Individuals that were between thirty-five and forty-five years exhibited high levels of depressive symptoms compared to those that were in the lower and upper age groups (Wasserman, 2011). However, people within this middle-age were considered to be open for professional help compared to the other two groups. Social factors such as education, ethnicity, living conditions, officer’s rank, number of deployments, and familial relationship are known to impact an individual’s vulnerability to depression. Therefore, the selection process should capture a lot of issues surrounding an individual as well as the training must be designed in a manner that it allows the service men and women to explore various situations theoretically before encountering them in the actual setup. People who joined the forces while married showed low depression levels compared to those that entered the military when still single.
Equally, individuals living in marriage were open to get assistance from psychotherapists when depressed, which is contrary to the singles. However, there is no significant connection that was seen in cases where people cohabited. Single parents in the forces were seen to be more vulnerable to depression and were reluctant to seek help from experts. Availability and accessibility of people in higher ranks make it easy for the staff to solve their challenges and feel that they are part of the system. Opens organizational structures act as a motivation for individuals to identify if they are struggling with a particular mental disorder and visit professionals for help. According to Bjornlund (2010), Social support systems are essential in the lives of military personnel.
Lack of elaborative structures that can directly assist individuals makes them vulnerable to emotional loneliness, which results in depression. A survey carried out in the Estonian health system, showed that troops that worked together and received social support from various quarters had low depression index, whereas those that lacked social support structures exhibited high rates of depression. The social ties in the villages were essential in cushion people against things that are likely to expose them to depression. Equally, persons deployed to more hostile areas such as the Middle East reported high depression index compared to those that go for operations in less combative places such as Africa. However, the surveys indicated that they were both willing to look for expert help when necessary.
Methods The observational studies and quantitative analysis of the findings were recorded and reported based on the preferred reporting structure for systematic synthesis and meta-analysis of the outcome. The questionnaires employed herein delivered the required information to exhaustively explore the dynamics of the topic (McCauley, Liebling-Kalifani, & Hughes, 2011). Participants collaborated throughout the research making it easy to get the required information. Military personnel that was deployed during the combative period to different places and the service personnel that were not deployed were explored. However, the individual characteristics and the deployment era were not specified. The respondents were mixed and were not categorized based on any factor. The potential participants were determined by the United Kingdom ministry of defense’s defense statistics unit.
Hence, the main measure of analysis was based on regression coefficients of the relationship between every variable and the degrees of depression was categorized into positive and negative significant, non-significant outcome, and were put in differing sets. All variations were readjusted to ensure the data covered the targeted dynamics. Each variable was recorded and every dataset analyzed accordingly. The dataset of the forty-five studies was captured and recorded systematically. The research characteristics were covered throughout the interview. The findings were only captured if they fulfilled all the set limits of inclusion. Equally, the credibility of the feedback from the participants was weighed against the general response of other respondents. Depression Tables and Graphs Descriptive Statistics N Range Minimum Maximum Mean Std.
Deviation Variance Depression 45 37. 134 Resilience 45 3. (2-tailed). 883 N 45 45 45 45 Stress Pearson Correlation. 023 1 Sig. (2-tailed). 883 N 45 45 45 45 *. 911 44 a. Dependent Variable: Depression b. Predictors: (Constant), Stress, Resilience, Support Coefficientsa Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t Sig. B Std. Error Beta 1 (Constant) 41. The responses were varied and exhaustive replies were recorded by all forty-five respondents. The minimum rate of resilience was 2. 00 and the maximum was 5. Equally, the mean rate of resilience was captured to be 3. Stress inventory: the respondents were required to answer questions regarding the multidimensional nature of stress. General relationship of variables: Depression was considered as a dependent variable, whereby the three factors were regarded as independent variables and new dimensions were established. All the measurements were captured and a complete relationship of the items was drawn.
According to the score, the stress was seen to be adversely affecting depression, whereby it increased the rate of occurrence by 0. The effect of stress on depression is notable throughout the data. Social support frameworks indicated a negative relationship with depression exhibiting that it had little influence in managing depression among the military personnel. The individuals in the British army found it hard to be resilient after being diagnosed with depression. They exhibited low rates of recovery from their mental condition. Therefore, it is notable that few individuals got better and even become focused thereafter. The third set of data showed that there was a positive relationship between stress and depression. The service men and women in the British army were likely to be more depressed when exposed to more stressful situations.
Continuous care systems can provide an opportunity for increasing intercultural competence, create tolerance between different beliefs, and maximize the degree of cooperation among members of a particular troop. However, an extensive study on the role of social support on reducing depression and stress in a group of British army needs to be conducted. Limitations of the Research The outcomes of this study should be viewed in the light of various shortcomings. First, the entire study was conducted in the United Kingdom, which decreases the external reliability of the data. Second, the analysis of the findings was limited due to the heterogeneous nature of the research. It is notable that the data was synthesized anonymously. Future Proposals for Research Future quantitative research on the psycho-social factors influencing depression among the military personnel should be expansive whereby it captures data from secondary sources for objectivity and includes psycho-social models as a framework for understanding the concept of depression.
Moreover, the impact of several characteristics such as the ranks of officers, gender, age, and level of education need to be captured so that to create a more elaborative and exhaustive research. It should cover the relationship between various predisposing factors both psychological and sociological to ensure it is easy to understand the complex concept of depression. Hence, the frameworks and features identified in the paper should be explored further. Therefore, mechanisms that prepare the service personnel to the possible challenges and how to deal with them are necessary. Depression is a common disorder not just to the armed forces but also to the civilians globally, hence the developed frameworks should have far-reaching impact. Constant checkups should be carried out to all service men and women before and after deployment so that to assess their state so that to undertake appropriate measures to deal with affected people.
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