‘Post-deployment appraisal’ and the relationship with stress and psychological health in Australian veterans

Abstract

Purpose

Understanding how veterans appraise their post-deployment experiences could provide insight into better assisting their deployment transitions. We aimed to assess the factor structure of positive and negative post-deployment appraisals in Australian veterans and to examine the resultant factors in their relationship with military stress and psychological health.

Method

Questions capturing post-deployment attitudes were developed by the researchers in collaboration with veterans. The questions were administered to 1938 veterans and the results factor analysed. The relationships between post-deployment appraisal, military stress and psychological health were examined using Structural Equation Modelling.

Results

A three-factor solution was found for the post-deployment appraisal questions; representing personal development, lack of recognition, and appreciation of life and country. Military stress was associated with the three factors and psychological health. The three factors were weakly to moderately associated with psychological health. Mediation between military stress and psychological health by any post-deployment appraisal factor was minimal.

Conclusions

Post-deployment appraisal measures three important attitudes and concerns of veterans after deployment. Military stress is associated with the post-deployment appraisal factors. However, the factors did not mediate the relationship between military stress and psychological health. These factors provide insight into how veterans appraise their complex array of post-deployment experiences, and may provide useful in regard to transitions and integration into civilian life.

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Acknowledgments

The research on which this article was based was funded by a grant from the Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The views expressed in the article do not necessarily represent the views of the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The Commonwealth of Australia does not give any warranty nor accept any liability in relation to the contents of the article.

Conflict of interest

None.

Ethical standard

The authors assert that all procedures contributing to this work comply with the ethical standards of the relevant national and institutional committees on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008. All participants provided voluntary informed consent.

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Correspondence to Helen Kelsall.

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Wright, B., Forbes, A., Kelsall, H. et al. ‘Post-deployment appraisal’ and the relationship with stress and psychological health in Australian veterans. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 50, 1885–1892 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-015-1054-x

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Keywords

  • Veterans
  • Military stress
  • Cognitive appraisal
  • Psychological health