Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Glenda Lindseth

Abstract

ABSTRACT

The current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are unlike previous wars and present new challenges for service members post deployment. Currently, service members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are experiencing a number of stressors that may have implications during their post deployment adjustment (Kline et al., 2010; La Bash et al., 2009; McNulty, 2005). Few studies were found that examined the stressors of deployment and their relationship to the health and well-being of veterans upon return home. Therefore, a more complete understanding of the deployment experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is needed in order to have an adequate understanding of the impact of deployment on returning veterans' health and well-being.

Thirty eight U. S. Marines and Sailors that deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan were recruited for the study. Using the Deployment Risk and Resilience Inventory (DDRI) questionnaire and the General Well-being Schedule (GWB), the following research questions were analyzed: 1) What do U.S. Marines and Sailors who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan perceive as stressors? 2) What is the relationship between perceived deployment stressors and the health and well-being of U.S. Marines and Sailors who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan after returning home?

The following were identified as stressors by the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, Deployment Concerns (Perceived threat), Combat Experiences, and Post-Battle Experiences. Multiple regression analysis was used to detect the amount of shared variance and strength of relationships between the variables of interest, perceived deployment stressors and participant well-being. A linear regression analysis showed a non-significant relationship between deployment stressors and participant well-being (F (6, 31) = 1.45, p = >.05) with an R2 of .22. Significant negative correlations were found between participant well-being scores and Life Concerns (r = -0.37, p = < 0.05) and participant well-being scores and Deployment Concerns (r = -0.32, p = < 0.05).

The U.S. Marines and Sailors in this study did identify certain deployment stressors associated with combat that could put them at risk for impaired well-being. Indeed, this knowledge will help health care providers have a better understanding of the health care needs of Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans. Furthermore, this knowledge will lead to the design of more holistic treatment and wellness programs for our returning war fighters.

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