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Military Psychology
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Occupational Stressors in Military Service: A Review and Framework


Donald J. Campbell & Orly Ben-Yoav Nobel
a a a

U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York

Available online: 13 Oct 2009

To cite this article: Donald J. Campbell & Orly Ben-Yoav Nobel (2009): Occupational Stressors in Military Service: A Review and Framework, Military Psychology, 21:S2, S47-S67 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08995600903249149

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MILITARY PSYCHOLOGY, 21:(Suppl. 2)S47S67, 2009 Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC ISSN: 0899-5605 print / 1532-7876 online DOI: 10.1080/08995600903249149

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Occupational Stressors in Military Service: A Review and Framework


Donald J. Campbell and Orly Ben-Yoav Nobel
U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York

The identification of stressors and the evaluation of their likely severity in the different settings and phases of military service are essential requirements for developing a comprehensive understanding of military occupation stress and for developing stress-reducing strategies useful for enhancing unit performance and for promoting soldiers health. As an initial step in meeting these requirements, this article reviews and compares the likely sources and severity of occupational stress across several broad types of military environmentsi.e., garrison versus deployed and combat versus noncombatand presents an integrating framework for systematically considering military occupational stress in these subenvironments. Discussion focuses on the contributions the framework makes and on the kinds of military stress research needed in the future.

Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. militarys traditional mission of warfighting has expanded to include multiple new tasks (e.g., assisting natural disaster victims; delivering humanitarian aid; peacekeeping; nation-building, etc.); and these new military undertakings have substantially added to the likelihood that soldiers at all levels will experience stress during their service tours. Further, although researchers and health professionals currently know a great deal about the causes and effects of occupational stress on workers and work performance (e.g., Cooper, Dewe, & ODriscoll, 2001; Fairbrother & Warn, 2003; Lukey & Tepe, 2008), much of this information is fragmentary and not integrated into a cohesive whole, and it reflects a context-free orientation aimed at generating broad insights applicable across numerous settings. Though such information is clearly essential, if
Correspondence should be addressed to Prof. Donald J. Campbell, Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY 10996. E-mail: LD6829@ usma.edu

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investigators want their efforts to sustain unit performance and protect the health of individual soldiers (e.g., Bliese, Halverson, & Schriesheim, 2002; Norwood, 1997), it is crucial that they begin to examine military occupational stress in more contextual and comprehensive ways. In particular, researchers need a framework that offers a conceptual perspective on the military environment that captures the contextual diversity that soldiers now encounter. Such a framework, with its capacity to highlight stressors especially relevant to various military subenvironments, might better demonstrate the connections military stressors share with more conventional occupations, as well as underscore the distinctions that make military service unusual. As importantly, such a framework could also begin to clarify (as other research efforts have begun to do; e.g., Adler, Litz, & Bartone, 2003; Bliese & Castro, 2003) how the stressors themselves and their severity vary across different deployment subenvironments (i.e., in settings where the distinctive characteristics of military work is most readily apparent). This article presents some initial efforts along these lines. The article first examines prior classifications of occupational stressors, without systematically linking this research to the military context. Next, building on this work, the article proposes an orienting framework based on deployment status and mission type and offers a stress model specifically relevant to different military subenvironments. In the final section, the article considers future research needs and hypotheses worth pursuing.

PRIOR CLASSIFICATIONS OF OCCUPATIONAL STRESSORS Prior classifications of occupation stressors generally reflect a context-free approach (e.g., French, Caplan, & Harrison, 1982; Karasek, 1979; Spielberger, Vagg, & Wasala, 2003), but a number of investigators have examined stress within the specific context of military work settings (e.g., Adler, Castro, & Britt, 2006; Britt, Castro, & Adler, 2006). Both context-free and context-specific orientations provide useful insights, and this review incorporates aspects of each. Specific Stressors Approach Many stressors in military environments heavily overlap with stressors found in more traditional work settings; e.g., role-related stressors (e.g., Britt, Stetz, & Bliese, 2004; Dobreva-Martinova, Villeneuve, Strickland, & Matheson, 2002; Jex, Bliese, Buzzell, & Primeau, 2001); time and workload stressors (e.g., Carbone & Cigrang, 2001; Gold & Friedman, 2000; Turnipseed & Murkison, 2000); relationship stressors (e.g., Bliese & Halverson, 1996; Jex & Thomas, 2003; MacDon-

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ald, Chamberlain, Long, Pereira-Laird, & Mirfin, 1998); change/transition stressors (e.g., Clemons, 1996; Williams, Hagerty, Yousha, Hoyle, & One, 2002); physical and environmental stressors (e.g., Bowles, Holger, & Picano, 2000); and organizational culture stressors (e.g., Pflanz & Sonnek, 2002). We also uncovered stressors that were distinctly linked to the military setting, particularly deployed environments; e.g., mission ambiguity stressors (e.g., Ballone et al., 2000; Bartone, Vaitkus, & Adler, 1998; Hotopf et al., 2003; Shigemura & Nomura, 2002); engagement ambiguity stressors (e.g., Cameron, Ruck, & Anderson, 1994; Litz, Orsillo, Friedman, & Ehlich, 1997; Pearn, 2000); leadership climate stressors (e.g., Bliese & Halverson, 2002; Bliese et al., 2002; Yerks, 1993); cultural and situational ambiguity stressors (e.g., Downie, 2002); and combat stressors (e.g., Dekel, Solomon, Ginzburg, & Neria, 2003; Weerts et al., 2002). Broadly considered, these stressors reflect the person-environment fit approach commonly found in the occupational stress literature. The work of Cooper and his colleagues (Cartwright & Cooper, 1997; Cooper et al., 2001) is notable here. These researchers identified a number of primary categories of work-related stressors such as job factors; role factors; social and career development issues; organizational factors; and home-work interface factors. Other researchers (e.g., Houkes, Janssen, de Jonge, & Nijhuis, 2001; Janseen, de Jonge, & Bakkar, 1999) have used similar groupings, and still others (e.g., Sauter, Murphy, & Hurrell, 1990) have simply distinguished between stressors from physical conditions and those from psychosocial factors or strain related to changes in the work setting and to community or societal problems (e.g., Hartley, 1995; Kasl, 1991). Overall, in comparing stressors found in military settings with occupational stressors found generally, substantial overlap exists. However, some significant military stressors are absent from traditional categories. Global Dimensions Approach In addition to clusterings of specific stressors, researchers have also generated more conceptually based approaches. Of several work-stress models reviewed by Spielberger et al. (2003), two emphasize more global dimensions: Karaseks (1979) demand-control-support model, which uses job demands, decision latitude, and social support to capture work stress; and Spielbergers state-trait process model (Spielberger et al., 2003; Vagg & Spielberger, 1998), which uses job pressures and lack of support to capture stressors. The job pressures category contains stressors related to a range of job duties, requirements, and work conditions, and the lack of support category includes stressors arising from inadequate organizational rewards and lack of supervisor or coworker support. Adler et al. (2003), in their consideration of peacekeeping stressors, separated stressors into those associated with the deployed environment and those associated with peace-

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keeping duty. Within each of these global categories, the researchers further identified several important subcategories, such as potentially traumatic stressors versus nontraumatic. The global dimensions approaches provide useful overarching frameworks. For example, the demand-control-support model supplies the conceptual foundation for the Job Content Questionnaire (Karasek et al., 1998). Nonetheless, these approaches also place considerable emphasis on various distinct work stressors. In this respect, they overlap with the specific stressors approach. Psychological Outcomes Approach Another conceptual approach has viewed stress primarily from a psychological processes/outcomes approach, categorizing specific stressors based on the psychological process or outcome the stressor evokes in the individual. For instance, Bartone et al. (1998) grouped stressors according to the underlying psychological strains that the stressors create, such as feelings of isolation, confusion and ambiguity, powerlessness, boredom, and threat/danger. Shigemura and Nomura (2002) used this approach in their review of the mental health issues afflicting peacekeeping workers. Other researchers (i.e., Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) emphasize the role of cognitive appraisal in mediating the effects of stressful work environments on individuals, distinguishing between low-magnitude, daily hassle stressors and traumatic event stressors. Some General Conclusions This brief review allows several conclusions. First, significant overlap exists in the various stressor categorizations used and in the specific stressors identified. Second, the most prominent occupational stressors are those associated with job content; related temporal, physical, or quantitative work requirements; and role stressors. Less prominent stressors include changes in the work setting or in the community; societal pressures; and general economic forces and concerns. Finally, several stressors central to military service have received some attention. These include sudden changes in roles and responsibilities; confusion regarding role identity; confusion regarding rules, restrictions, and mission goals; and feelings of physical or psychological threat. The review also makes clear that little research has considered occupational stressors comprehensively; i.e., systematically across the full spectrum of military work. Such a consideration would involve examining stressor severity (its form and degree) within a conceptual framework that does justice to the primary characteristics that distinguish the military occupation from more conventional occupations: where the work takes place (e.g., locally or away) and the conditions under which it takes place (e.g., benign or malignant). This type of conceptual framework (developed in more detail below) highlights the theoretical importance of the deployment

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cycle in attempting to understand military stress. As Adler et al. (2003) have noted for peacekeeping work, if we want to understand why certain experiences are considered stressful, and how similar stressor exposure may lead to dissimilar stress reactions, we need to track how these two dimensions create different work environments and how various threats to a soldiers physical, psychological, and spiritual integrity rise and fall both within and across the linked environments they create. Such a conceptual framework would then allow researchers to undertake more detailed comparative analyses of the basic situational elements (e.g., unpredictability, novelty, ambiguity, etc.) that actually generate strain. STRESSORS IN MILITARY SERVICE: AN INTEGRATION AND DYNAMIC ANALYSIS The nature of military work has undergone significant expansion in recent years, with the addition of multiple new responsibilities and tasks. In capturing this expanded environment, we used a 2 2 framework based on deployment status (i.e., in garrison versus deployed) and mission type (i.e., combat versus noncombat) to create four military subsettings. In setting A, the noncombat, garrison environments, we anticipate that soldiers encounter stressors typical of conventional work settings and experience the strains characteristic of such conventional environments. In noncombat, deployed environments such as overseas disaster-relief and humanitarian missions, (i.e., setting B) we expect that, in addition to the normal occupational stressors of setting A, soldiers also encounter stressors typically associated with expatriate work. Setting C represents the deployed, combat environment that uniquely defines the military occupation. Here soldiers encounter the distinct stressors associated with fighting and warfare. The additional strains that soldiers experience in this subenvironment are mostly peculiar to the military profession. Finally, setting D captures those environments in which the military has taken on extensive policing or peacekeeping activities and responsibilities. Although the framework places this type of police work in the garrison (i.e., domestic) setting, in actuality soldiers are more likely to encounter the stressors associated with this work in deployment. The framework necessarily presents the four subenvironments statically; i.e., as relatively independent of each other. Given the expanded demands placed on the military, soldiers are now likely to cycle through all four subenvironments during their service tours, with various constellations of stressors increasing or diminishing in significance, depending on the point in the cycle (e.g., Bartone et al., 1998). Stressor Categories and Deployment Phases In capturing the dynamic aspect of military service, we returned to the literature reviewed and identified seven areas where individuals typically encounter specific

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stressorswork, social-interpersonal, family, self-identity, psychological environment, cultural environment, and physical environment. We selected each category to represent an area of particular psychological or emotional significance for the average person, and the seven categories appear generally similar to those used in earlier approaches. Table 1 contains the seven categories and their associated specific stressors. We then examined these seven categories across six designated deployment phases; i.e., garrison, predeployment preparation, deployment (combat), deployment (noncombat), disengagement preparation, and immediate return. Relative to the military subenvironments discussed earlier, the deployment phases here collapse the military- and police-work subenvironments into a single combat deployment phase. Given the differences in the likelihood and intensity of combat in these two subenvironments, this merger is certainly an oversimplification. Nonetheless, it seemed defensible because the psychological-environment stressors (i.e., the stressors that most distinguish military work from other occupations) are similar whether caused by traditional warfare or peacekeeping/policing work. Table 2 summarizes hypothesized stress types and stress severity in the different phases.

SPECIFIC STRESSORS IN EACH CATEGORY Each of the seven categories encompasses a set of related, specific stressors. We argue that any subset of these may be relevant and active in a given deployment phase, with specific circumstances and individual characteristics determining this. Though the categories themselves are conceptually distinct, the classification of

TABLE 1 Categorization of Potential Stressors Found in Literature Review Category Work Specific Potential Stressors Task, load, pace, ability, ambiguity, confusion, responsibility, restriction, supervision, group climate, work policies, work goals, advancement, work change, loss, no feedback, no resources, poor leadership Acceptance, friendship, respect, status, conflict, change, loss Separation, safety, missed milestone, guilt, usurpation, communication restrictions, change, loss, worry Person-role conflict, role-role conflict Hostility, aggression, injury, death, maiming, fear, anxiety, responsibility (self), responsibility (others), disapproval, repugnance, uncertainty, boredom, insignificance, isolation, abandonment Unfamiliarity, value clash, discomfort, language, customs, misunderstanding Deprivation, discomfort, climate extreme, terrain extreme, privacy loss, exhaustion, noxious, unhealthy, isolation

Social-interpersonal Family Self-identity Psychological environment

Cultural environment Physical environment

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TABLE 2 Hypothesized Stress Severity by Stressor Category and by Deployment Phase Deployment Phase

Stressor Category

Home/ Garrison

Predeploymen: Preparation

(Combat) Deployment

(Noncombat) Deployment

Disengagement: Preparation

Immediate Return

Work

Social- interpersonal

Family

Self-identity

Psychological environment

Cultural environment

Physical environment

P1: baseline P2: primary P1: baseline P2: primary P1: baseline P2: primary P1: baseline P2: peripheral P1: baseline P2: peripheral P1: baseline P2: peripheral P1: baseline P2: peripheral

P1: increasing P2: primary P1: baseline P2: peripheral P1: increasing P2: peripheral P1: increasing P2: peripheral P1: increasing P2: primary P1: baseline P2: peripheral P1: baseline P2: peripheral

P1: maximum P2: primary P1: increasing P2: primary P1: maximum P2: primary P1: maximum P2: primary P1: maximum P2: primary P1: maximum P2: primary P1: increasing P2: peripheral

P1: increasing P2: primary P1: increasing P2: primary P1: increasing P2: peripheral P1: increasing P2: peripheral P1: increasing P2: peripheral P1: increasing P2: primary P1: increasing P2: peripheral

P1: decreasing P2: primary P1: decreasing P2: peripheral P1: decreasing P2: peripheral P1: decreasing P2: peripheral P1: decreasing P2: primary P1: decreasing P2: primary P1: decreasing P2: peripheral

P1: baseline P2: primary P1: baseline P2: peripheral P1: baseline P2: peripheral P1: baseline P2: peripheral P1: baseline P2: peripheral P1: baseline P2: peripheral P1: baseline P2: peripheral

Note. Stress severity = Frequency (P1): baseline; appearing/increasing; maximum; decreasing/disappearing; plus = Centrality/focus (P2): primary; peripheral.

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specific stressors into one category or another overlaps somewhat in practice. For analytic convenience, we have treated the categories as mutually exclusive, and we have sometimes placed specific stressors into one category or another subjectively. Work Job-content stressors include limited task variety and significance; skills underutilization; low control and autonomy; and limited opportunities to participate in decisions. Stress due to time (e.g., long hours, short deadlines) and the physical aspects of the job (e.g., heavy lifting and excessive demands) are also relevant here. Excessive demands can center on both quality (e.g., extreme precision) and on quantity. Many of these problems are a central cause of stress in civilian occupations. Within the military, the strong hierarchical culture and the strict rules that govern operations may lower expectations of autonomy and work control. Many job-content stressors appear to become less significant in deployed versus garrison settings. In garrison, stressors typically involve work overload, physical task demands, time pressures, long hours, and low autonomy and control. In deployed settings, individuals report these stressors much less frequently, perhaps reflecting greater acceptance of increased workload and work hours in deployment. The findings may also reflect the low levels of recreational activities available, with restrictions on movement and prolonged idle times making work activity more attractive (see Bartone et al., 1998). More general work stressors include organizational constraints and barriers to effective performance; e.g., inefficient communication, obsolete equipment, inadequate coordination, insufficient logistical planning, etc. Organizational culture and climate can also create strains; e.g., a strong emphasis on respect for authority can discourage initiative or constrain options when resolving ethical dilemmas. Because organizational functioning is especially critical in deployed environments, these stressors take on great significance. Individuals report intense strain from problems such as insufficient supplies and inadequate information. In garrison, stressors mostly reflect strains due to organizational culture, such as a too-heavy emphasis on discipline. Performance-support stressors surface when key players fail to help task accomplishment. They are severe in environments where performance interdependencies exist (e.g., combat team operations). Stress arises from both the leaders and peers inadequate support. Though leader competence is a central concern in garrison, this concern creates considerably more strain in deployment. Similarly, limited familiarity with peers is a concern among recruits and cadets in garrison, but it is an even greater stressor among recently deployed units because of the serious consequences potentially associated with unfamiliarity (e.g., fear of failure to forward critical information). In deployed settings, stress may also arise from ex-

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tra-organizational units (e.g., civilian authorities, multinational forces) failing to provide expected collaboration, etc. Role issues are major work stressors, especially in deployment. Role ambiguity may center on the persons ambiguity regarding duties or authority relationships vis--vis multinational forces, local authorities, or international agencies; on mission ambiguity, characterized by insufficient or changing information regarding goals; or on engagement ambiguity connected to inconsistent directions concerning rules of engagement. Related is the associated problem of role restriction. An uncommon stressor in the general literature, role restriction is a key stressor in deployed service. The stressor takes the form of restrictions on task behaviors (e.g., strict rules limiting responses to attacks) or restrictions on off-duty activities. These stressors often arise with person-role stressors, because restrictions on actions may inherently create person role conflict (e.g., restrictions that prevent a military doctor from doing what a humane person would do, such as providing treatment to injured civilians). Role responsibilities also create stress. Stress arises from both responsibility for people and responsibility for things (e.g., equipment). In deployed settings particularly, soldiers can experience severe people responsibility stress, because they are accountable for the well-being of peers, subordinates, and civilians while simultaneously being accountable for the successful execution of dangerous missions. Changes in role responsibilities represent another set of work role stressors. These stressors refer to the demands made on individuals to adapt to new responsibilities. In garrison environments, individuals usually experience this type of strain when entering into a new role (e.g., captains assuming first command). In deployed settings, this type of strain arises from sudden changes in an individuals responsibilities (e.g., armored units called to perform unfamiliar infantry duties) and from the real or perceived absence of sufficient preparation for assuming new tasks and responsibilities. Related stressors are concerns about ones ability to master required new skills and anxiety about succeeding. Similar issues can center on a persons fears regarding future tasks, duties, and performance standards that are associated with the present role (e.g., worry before deployment about the nature of specific duties required after deployment). Individuals may also experience stress from uncertainty regarding future work locations. This kind of stress, though present in garrison settings, is intensified with deployment. Deployment also adds stress from uncertainty regarding the length of separation from home and family and from uncertainty regarding the end of a current assignment or the beginning of a new one (e.g., uncertainty about the end of deployment or discharge date). Finally, though career stressors (e.g., advancement; career security, etc.) do not appear to be central stressors among military personnel (unlike general occupations), retentionespecially of officers completing mandatory serviceis a chal-

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lenge for the Army. Thus, career concerns may operate as stressors at least in some military settings.

Social-Interpersonal These stressors center on the persons concerns with social relationships at work, particularly with work colleagues and with the group leader. Relationships with work colleagues are especially critical for military personnel, because soldiers often share living quarters for significant periods during deployment. Similarly, given the great power a military leader has over subordinates daily lives and long-term career prospects, soldiers often perceive establishing and maintaining an effective social relationship with this individual as crucial. Some researchers (e.g., Karasek et al., 1998; Spector & Jex, 1998) note that social relationships significantly influence the support and assistance available to an individual. Thus, hostility with peers or with the leader creates enormous strain. Competition among peers may also be as a source of strain, and to the degree that sexual innuendo characterizes social relationships, this too can serve as a stressor (i.e., harassment) relevant in both garrison and deployed settings. Finally, relationships with the community (both local and extended) may also create strains. Kasl (1991) and Hartley (1995) note that lack of public support and media recognition of the militarys efforts (e.g., coverage just emphasizing difficulties and failures) creates stress in soldiers.

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Family Stressors associated with family attitudes and expectations form another set of concerns. These stressors typically center on temporal and behavioral conflicts at the work-family interface. Time-based conflict highly relevant to military deployment is simply separation from the family. This stressor involves a host of related stressors linked to prolonged leave (e.g., inability to help or care for sick family members). Strain also emerges as attitudes and behaviors that are useful for effective adjustment during deployment (e.g., emotional distancing) contradict those relevant for positive family relationships upon return. Similarly, emotional reactions to deployment, especially anticipated combat deployment, seriously affect interactions within the family. Though family stressors are common even in garrison environments, deployed settings intensify their effects. The most important family stressors in garrison are the intrusion of work activities into personal life and the familys reactions to ones job. In deployed environments, individuals report stress stemming from family separation, return-date uncertainty, and absent or limited communications.

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Self-Identity Self-identity stressors are not typically major concerns in civilian occupations, but these stressors are concerns in military service. Two types of self-identity stressors often appear during different phases of deployment. The first is person-role conflict (a clash between the persons own self-image and the conduct required in carrying out the soldier role), and the second is interrole conflict (conflict created by the mutually exclusive demands of different roles held by the same individual, such as dedicated soldier and nurturing parent). Role identity issues can also become a major stressor, especially during deployments. Strain arises from the incongruent mindset experienced by combat soldiers trained to fight wars but then required to mix warfighting (insurgency control) with peacekeeping and nation-building.

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Psychological Environment The stressors in this category typically delineate the military occupation from civilian occupations and (within military service) deployment from garrison environments. The category contains specific stressors created by the overall context surrounding a military mission, with the context giving rise to soldiers psychological environment. Stressors generally fall into three related subsets. The first subset contains stressors associated with operating in hostile and unstable settings (e.g., experiencing general anxiety and fear, concerns about holding up under fire, actually suffering from a physical injury or illness, etc.). Combat exposure includes strains caused by active fighting (e.g., killing); finding oneself in situations where survival is uncertain (Dekel et al., 2003); coming under fire; experiencing an artillery, rocket, or mortar barrage; and suffering combat-related injuries (Hotopf et al., 2003; Nisenbaum, Barett, Reyes, & Reeves, 2000). The intensity and length of combat influence the degree of strain experienced. These combat strains can occur not only during warfighting deployments but also during some peacekeeping deployments. A second subset contains stressors associated with the risk of injury or loss of life. These stressors typically occur where the enemy is not always in uniform and in situations characterized by chronic breakdowns in peace, unexpected acts of violence, and rejection of deployed forces by local groups (e.g., Bolton, Glenn, Orsillo, Roemer, & Litz, 2003; Downie, 2002). Fear for life and physical safety is especially prevalent on missions requiring soldiers to be in close proximity to the local population, where combatants are indistinguishable from civilians. These settings lack the usual emphasis on defense and protection typical of conventional war and for which soldiers receive combat training (Litz et al., 1997). Other specific fears include terrorist attacks, snipers, landmines, underwater explosives (Yerks, 1993), chemical or biological weapons, missile attacks, fear of infection

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from local disease, lack of trust in the capability of equipment, and the handling of prisoners of war. Finally, own-army fallibilities (e.g., friendly fire) represent another fear that can accompany deployment. The third subset of psychological-environment stressors centers on observing others as targets of attack. Strains connected with observing fellow comrades (or enemy soldiers) become targets of aggression include seeing maimed, seriously injured, or dead bodies; witnessing someone dying; and the personal loss of friends (Weerts et al., 2002). Exposure to civilian suffering is also a major stressor. This includes witnessing the outcome of atrocities; the handling of civilian casualties, especially children; observing death and extreme misery daily (Rosebush, 1998); the handling of displaced refugees; and the retrieval and disposal of bodies (MacDonald et al., 1998). Finally, the principles of impartiality and restraint governing nation-building, peacekeeping, and humanitarian deployments can exacerbate the impact of combat stressors. Strict rules of engagement often restrict soldiers options for protecting themselves from threat, and limited resources or political considerations can restrict their ability to provide help to suffering locals. Impartiality rules may limit or prohibit interventions that could prevent atrocities and death among warring factions and bystanders (e.g., Pearn, 2000). For noncombat deployments, other stressors may include feelings of uncertainty or insignificance, boredom, isolation, and abandonment. Cultural Environment The cultural environment refers to the degree of similarity between the norms, attitudes, beliefs, and characteristics of the mission environment to the soldiers garrison environment (i.e., the United States). Stressors in this category are primarily relevant for deployed troops. They center on the anxieties created by the cultural ambiguities, value clashes, and exotic customs governing interactions with foreign locals and with the unfamiliar norms and languages of the multinational forces of a joint undertaking. Although cultural environment stressors contribute to the psychological environment, they warrant distinct consideration. Even in the most benign of peacekeeping or humanitarian deployments, these stressors typically occur even if the combat-related stressors of the psychological environment are absent. Physical Environment Stressors in military training and in other garrison activities typically involve exposure to severe physical environments (e.g., extremes of temperature and terrain) and to toxic agents and hazards. In deployed settings, individuals also report a wide range of stressors related to climate conditions and exposure to toxic materi-

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als as well as concerns about chronic crowding and loss of personal privacy, remoteness and isolation, and other difficulties related to living conditions relative to garrison environments. In spite of the intuitive expectation that the physical environment represents a significant source of important stressors, our interpretation of the research reviewed is that stressors from this category are generally less central and intense than stressors from the other categories. Though physical environment stressors are important, it is possible that soldiers realistic expectations regarding military service conditions, and the intensive physical training they undergo, reduce somewhat the impact of these hardships.

STRESS TYPE AND SEVERITY ACROSS DEPLOYMENT PHASES As Table 1 shows, the range and form of potential specific stressors is immense. Further, because strain depends on both personality and situational factors, predicting stress type and severity across various deployment phases is complicated. Nonetheless, based on the research reviewed, we have attempted to identify the stressor categories likely to be most active in different deployment phases, and we have summarized our hypotheses in Table 2. These hypotheses ultimately require empirical verification. Table 2 uses two measures to anticipate the severity of stress across deployment phases. The first measure is a likelihood judgment regarding whether specific stressors within each category are likely to be present (i.e., more or less active) in that deployment phase. These estimations are subjective and represent an initial attempt to place the unsystematic and fragmentary results of many empirical studies into a broader conceptual frame. We have labeled this judgment P1, with four possible values: absent/baseline, appearing/increasing, at maximum, decreasing/disappearing. The garrison environment provides the baseline for gauging the hypothesized activity of the potential stressors in deployed environments. Additionally, Table 2 uses a second estimation of stress severity based on whether a stress category is likely to be a primary or a peripheral concern for the soldier. We have assumed that the seven stressor categories are not equally significant, with a categorys salience determined by an individuals particular circumstances. We hypothesize that, in the garrison environment, three of the seven categories (i.e., work, social-interpersonal, and family) are likely to be the primary categories producing various specific stressors. The logic here is that, under normal circumstances, these categories are areas of core importance that individuals closely monitor and on which they expend significant physical and cognitive energy. Consequently, these are also the areas where individuals are quick to detect problems and difficulties and to experience anxieties.

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Individuals may also encounter specific stressors from the other four categories as well (i.e., self-identity, psychological, cultural, and physical environments), but we hypothesize that these are peripheral areas that individuals (under normal circumstances) have adapted to and have accepted. Consequently, they are areas where problems, difficulties, and anxieties are less likely to arise, and when they do are more likely to be temporary; i.e., acute but less central. Thus, for garrison environments these categories typically represent noncentral, less severe sources of stress. However, we hypothesize that stressor categories can move in and out of a soldiers focusand thus vary in severitydepending on the individuals particular circumstances. This second estimation of stressor severity, a centrality measure (P2), takes two values: primary or peripheral. Garrison/Home Phase Using the garrison phase as the baseline setting for the seven categories, Table 2 hypothesizes that work stressors are likely to be a primary focus for soldiers across all phases, whereas physical environment stressors are likely to remain a peripheral focus regardless of phase. For the other five categories, salience increases or decreases depending on deployment phase. We hypothesize that, in addition to work stressors, social-interpersonal and family are the primary stressor categories in garrison, with various stressors from these categories creating the most severe strain for soldiers. The rationale here is that, in this phase, these categories represent life areas that saturate the soldiers daily attention and cognitive processes. We hypothesize that in the garrison environment, the other four stressor categories are either taken for granted (self-identity and cultural environment) or are not especially threatening (psychological environment and physical environment). Thus, specific stressors from these categories are less likely to create severe stress for soldiers. The rationale is that, on home ground, these categories represent taken-for-granted areas that do not usually demand reflective attention or become a central focus of ongoing, cognitive activity. Predeployment Preparation Phase As individuals transition into this phase they start considering the implications of deployment. Preparatory changes in work tasks and routines increasingly demand soldiers attention and physical resources, and we hypothesize that these changes are likely to result in increasing strain from work stressors. Simultaneously, changed work demands increase the frequency of various family stressors, even as this stressor category decreases in centrality and becomes a peripheral rather than a primary concern for the soldier. We hypothesize that social-interpersonal stressors become less important as they too become a peripheral rather than a primary concern.

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Various psychological environment stressors become significant, as deployment preparation increasingly brings the reality of future risk and uncertainty to the soldiers attention. We hypothesize that self-identity stressors largely remain a peripheral focus but begin to increase as individuals begin to reflect on their changing role. We also hypothesize that stressors from both the cultural and physical environments are a peripheral focus and remain at baseline, but it is probable that in some mobilizations, physical stressors begin to increase in this phase.

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Deployment Phase

Combat. It is during this phase that soldiers are likely to experience the most severe stress. We hypothesize that six of the seven stressor categories are central and in primary focus, with specific stressors in all seven category increasing or at a maximum. In particular, three stressor categories that were just a peripheral focus in garrison (psychological environment, self-identity, cultural environment) are now in central focus and at maximum levels. Specific stressors in the self-identity category are likely to reach maximum severity. We also hypothesize that various stressors from the psychological environment (revolving around fears and mortality) that present significant strains for soldiers and are at a maximum. Specific stressors from the cultural environment also appear as a central focus, and physical environment stressors (although just a peripheral focus) are also likely to increase. Noncombat. Noncombat deployments are conceptually similar to expatriate assignments in civilian occupations. Because of the severely disruptive nature of overseas deployments, we hypothesize that stressors in all seven categories appear or increase relative to garrison levels. However, we anticipate that soldiers primary focus will center on the work, social-interpersonal, and cultural environment categories. Stressors in the other categories will arise more frequently than baseline, but we hypothesize their frequency to be less than in combat deployments.
Disengagement Preparation Phase In this phase, we hypothesize that soldiers experience decreasing levels of stress in all stressor categories as they anticipate their return home. Although decreasing, specific work-related stressors are likely to continue as a central focus for individuals. We expect that social-interpersonal and family stressors not only decrease but also move out of focus as individuals anticipate a return to a familiar setting. Self-identity stressors (e.g., person-role conflicts) also move out of central focus and return to peripheral status. In contrast, specific stressors from the psychological and cultural environments, although decreasing in severity, remain a primary focus. We hypothesize that the stressors in this disengagement phase generally form a mirror-image of the stressors in the predeployment preparation phase.

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However, we anticipate that different subsets of specific stressors in each category may characterize the two phases.

Immediate Return Phase In this phase, we hypothesize that stress severity eventually returns to baseline levels. However, for a short period, soldiers maintain the same stress focus of the disengagement phase: work stressors as primary, with social-interpersonal and family as peripheral. The logic here is that in the early days of return, the reestablishment of work routines and procedures remains the central concern for the organization and thus for the individual soldier. As normalcy is established, this phase evolves into the garrison phase, and stressors from the social-interpersonal and family categories return to primary focus. Nonetheless, the possibility exists that the deployment experience may sometimes alter baseline levels from their garrison levels prior to deployment. Thus, the baselines in the far right and far left columns of Table 2 may not be equivalent.

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DISCUSSION With the expansion of the military environment over the past several decades has come the need for a more comprehensive and integrated view of stress in this environment. Our analysis presents such a view and makes a contribution in several ways. First, the framework relates the complex military environment to more conventional occupational settings. By distinguishing between several arrangements of mission types and deployment status, the framework highlights subenvironments where certain military stressors are likely to overlap with particular civilian stressors. Similarly, the framework also identifies environments where stressors are likely to be highly distinctive of military service. Although we allude to this aspect of the framework only briefly, the model provides a solid base on which to build future analyses. Along related lines, the frameworks emphasis on distinguishing between types of deployments in terms of military activities (e.g., combat/noncombat) rather than in terms of ultimate goals (e.g., humanitarian aid) is also noteworthy. Deployed settings are not functionally identical, and a framework that better captures both occupational content and context is more likely to help researchers understand those environments. Similarly, stressors encountered in combat deployments may seem comparable to stressors encountered in other extraordinary settings (e.g., catastrophic events and accidents). Such similarity may be misleading, however, in that combat stressors are an integral part of the soldiers work environment and an expected occupational event. Thus, the proposed framework also makes judg-

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ments regarding the functional equivalence of specialized settings to military settings easier (see Bliese & Castro, 2003). Third, the framework contributes by considering stressor severity across the whole span of a soldiers service tour. Instead of examining the impact of a specific stressor in a single environment, the model attempts to understand the relative strain associated with this stressor across the range of subenvironments in which a soldier encounters it. Thus, the framework highlights comprehensive understanding and the need for research examining a stressors relative intensity across situations and not just its absolute intensity within situations. Based on past research, the model offers multiple hypotheses regarding stress severity, but these require further empirical confirmation, and the hypotheses will likely undergo modification as more evidence accumulates. Related to the issue of hypothesis testing is the need for dedicated stress assessment instruments specifically geared to conditions encountered in military environments. In comparing stressors operating in garrison and deployed settings, we found differences in both the focus and range of such stressors. However, the reported research often used ad hoc measures or instruments developed for other contexts. Thus, we had to rely on subjective judgment in drawing comparative conclusions. Although the research was clear regarding broad sources of stress in different environments, weighing the relevance of specific stressors and their likely intensity involved a significant degree of reasoning and inference. The availability of stress assessment instruments specifically tailored to military personnel serving in multiple environments would help to overcome this difficulty (see Hurrell, Nelson, & Simmons, 1998, for a general discussion). In terms of stress severity itself, the model proposes that a comprehensive understanding of strain is likely to require more than a single measure. In the current framework, severity is gauged in terms of both centrality and frequency. The assumption here is that severity is not only influenced by whether a stressor is frequently experienced but by whether a stressor centrally occupies the soldiers cognitive and emotional attention. Other measures of severity are also possible. The framework implicitly underscores the need for research examining the relationships and potential interactions between various ways for measuring the severity of strain; e.g., do frequently occurring but peripheral stressors create as much strain as infrequently occurring but central stressors, and do the relationships found in one subenvironment generalize to other subenvironments? Similarly, because the model assumes that the new stressors in deployment are in addition to stressors creating strain in garrison, does the mere number of stressors in an environment uniquely influence strain? The model does not answer these questions, but it does raise them for further consideration. Perhaps the most important contribution of the framework is its implications regarding the type of future military-stressor research that is required. Though stand-alone, single subenvironment studies remain essential, most progress will

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come from systematic stress investigations that follow units longitudinally as they cycle through different subenvironments during their service tours. This longitudinal approach can provide the type of empirical data Table 2 calls for and thus allow researchers to refine, modify, and elaborate the model as needed. Such comprehensive research, in accelerating our conceptual understanding of military stressors, may also spur the development of new stress management techniques and interventions. Though military leaders have adapted civilian programs to military needs, unique military subenvironments are likely to require programs specifically focused on the distinct stressors of those environments. Some efforts (e.g., NATO Research and Technology Organisation, 2007) are already underway to help leaders minimize soldier stress across different phases of the deployment cycle, and other efforts have begun to examine useful stress protection techniques in extreme environments (e.g., Campbell, Campbell, & Ness, 2008). Efforts like these represent a start, but substantial progress will only come from systematic, longitudinal investigations. The Army should make such research a priority.

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