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Community integration after deployment to Afghanistan: a longitudinal investigation of Danish soldiers

  • Karen-Inge KarstoftEmail author
  • Cherie Armour
  • Søren B. Andersen
  • Mette Bertelsen
  • Trine Madsen
Original Paper

Abstract

Objective

In the years following military deployment, soldiers may experience problems integrating into the community. However, little is known about the nature and prevalence of these problems and if they relate to posttraumatic symptomatology.

Methods

In a prospective, longitudinal study of Danish soldiers deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 (N = 743), we assessed community reintegration difficulties 2.5 years after home coming (study sample: N = 454). Furthermore, symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were assessed before, during, and after deployment. Trajectories of PTSD symptoms from a previously published latent growth mixture modeling analysis were used to address whether community reintegration difficulties differ as a result of course and level of PTSD symptoms.

Results

Between 3.6 and 18.0 % reported to have some, a lot, or extreme difficulties in reintegration domains such as interpersonal functioning, productivity, community involvement, and self-care. Mean level of reintegration difficulties differed significantly across six PTSD symptom trajectories (range 6.35–36.00); with more symptomatic trajectories experiencing greater community reintegration difficulties.

Conclusions

Reintegration difficulties after deployment are present in less than 20 % of Danish soldiers who return from Afghanistan. Difficulties are greater in individuals who follow symptomatic PTSD trajectories in the first years following deployment than in those who follow a low-stable trajectory with no or few symptoms.

Keywords

Community reintegration PTSD Military Operation enduring freedom Longitudinal analysis Mixture modeling 

Notes

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

127_2014_973_MOESM1_ESM.docx (21 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 128 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen-Inge Karstoft
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cherie Armour
    • 3
  • Søren B. Andersen
    • 2
  • Mette Bertelsen
    • 2
  • Trine Madsen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, National Center for PsychotraumatologyUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark
  2. 2.Research and Knowledge Centre, Danish Veteran CentreRingstedDenmark
  3. 3.Psychology Research InstituteUniversity of UlsterColeraineNorthern Ireland

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