Dissertation: de la Fontaine, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and War Narratives of Israeli Soldiers

de la Fontaine, Naama, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Social Support and the Role of Ideology as Evident in the War Narratives of Israeli Soldiers. Adelphi University, 2013.

 

URL: http://search.proquest.com/docview/1513380504

 

Abstract

The detrimental effects of war exposure on soldiers’ wellbeing have been documented since the dawn of written narrative. However, the negative impact of trauma, and particularly war trauma, on soldiers’ mental health functioning and wellbeing has historically been overlooked by the psychiatric field at best, and met with antipathy and contempt at worst. This, along with various other social and cultural factors, has shaped the understanding and treatment of veterans for decades. At present, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as related mental health difficulties are well recognized as possible outcomes of war exposure among military personnel, yet the role of potential protective and risk factors in this population calls for further exploration. The ongoing rise in political conflict worldwide, along with the large numbers of soldiers impacted by war, emphasizes the need for studies that offer a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of soldiers’ experiences at war and upon homecoming. Israel, a country facing ongoing political turmoil, serves as a paradigm for understanding the complex interaction of personal, cultural, religious, and political factors that are thought to contribute to one’s ability to cope with traumatic events. The current study aimed to contribute to the existing literature documenting the impact of war experience on soldiers’ wellbeing by gaining insight into the lived experiences of soldiers. Specifically, this study sought to examine post-traumatic symptoms and mental health functioning in Israeli veterans of the 2006 Second Lebanon War, assessing participants’ post war mental health functioning, as well as their perception of various potential sources of support and the degree to which social factors played a role in soldiers’ motivation to fight, at-war coping, and adjustment post-war. Given the unique climate of military service in Israel, the study also sought to understand the role of religious, spiritual and political ideologies in motivating soldiers and allowing them to cope with war-related experiences. To this end, participants completed semi-structured interviews targeting these questions. Participants’ narratives were analyzed utilizing a qualitative method of analysis (Le., Consensual Qualitative Research) from which emerged many domains and categories capturing the most frequent topics and content of participants’ responses. Results of the current study captured the most prevalent experiences described by participants. The majority of participants reported experiencing some PTSD symptoms, yet denied feeling anger or irritability. Participants differentiated between various sources of support and most denied that ideologies played a significant role in their war experiences. Social support, and particularly relationships with fellow soldiers, was found to offer greater motivation to fight, and to serve as a greater source of coping both during and after war than did ideological beliefs. Nevertheless, many participants described post war change related to spiritual beliefs and existential growth. These findings are important in guiding clinical intervention for soldiers participate in war. Findings are preliminary and lead to the emergence of a multitude of follow up questions; thus, future research assessing soldiers’ experiences during and following war is warranted.

 

Subject: Mental health; Psychology; Military studies

Classification: 0347: Mental health; 0621: Psychology; 0750: Military studies

Identifier / keyword: Social sciences, Psychology, Health and environmental sciences, trauma, Soldiers, War, Social support, Spirituality, Narratives

Number of pages: 269

Publication year: 2013

Degree date: 2013

School code: 0830

Source: DAI-B 75/06(E), Dec 2014

Place of publication: Ann Arbor

Country of publication: United States

ISBN: 9781303809668

Advisor: Szymanski, Kate

University/institution: Adelphi University, The Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies

University location: United States — New York

Degree: Ph.D.

Source type: Dissertations & Theses

Language: English

Document type: Dissertation/Thesis

Dissertation/thesis number: 3579778

ProQuest document ID: 1513380504

 

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