Advertisement

Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 747–764 | Cite as

Spiritual and Non-spiritual Needs Among German Soldiers and Their Relation to Stress Perception, PTDS Symptoms, and Life Satisfaction: Results from a Structural Equation Modeling Approach

  • Arndt BüssingEmail author
  • Daniela R. Recchia
Original Paper

Abstract

In an anonym cross-sectional survey (using standardized questionnaires) among 1092 German soldiers, we found that 21 % regard their faith as a “strong hold in difficult times.” Only a few had specific religious needs. Rather, a consistent theme from the participants was the need to communicate their own fears, worries and desire to attain states of inner peace. “Soldiers” stress perception and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms were associated particularly with existential and Inner Peace Needs. Structural equation modeling indicated that stress perception has a negative influence on soldiers’ life satisfaction, which in turn gives rise to specific unmet spiritual needs. These specific needs may indicate psycho-emotional problems which could be supported very early to prevent health affections and service failure.

Keywords

Soldiers Stress perception Posttraumatic stress disorders Life satisfaction Spiritual needs 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Peter Mees, Christiane Reitz and Gesine Krüger for their support. Arndt Büssing, M.D., is a full professor at the Witten/Herdecke University with a research focus on quality of life, spirituality and coping, and non-pharmacological integrative medicine interventions to treat patients with chronic diseases. He is a non-residential Faculty Scholar, Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health, Duke University Medical Center, USA, and Chairman of the International Society of Health and Spirituality (IGGS). In 2011 he was appointed as a Technical Team Member of the NATO panel HFM-195 on “Integrative Medicine Interventions for Military Personnel.” Daniela R. Recchia has studied mathematics and is now a doctoral student at the Faculty of Health of Witten/Herdecke University.

Conflict of interest

For this study, none of the authors received any financial support. A.B. and D.R.R. are employees of the Witten/Herdecke University and were never employed by any military organization. The authors disclose any competing interests.

References

  1. Balboni, T. A., Vanderwerker, L. C., Block, S. D., Paulk, M. E., Lathan, C. S., Peteet, J. R., & Prigerson, H. G. (2007). Religiousness and spiritual support among advanced cancer patients and associations with end-of-life treatment preferences and quality of life. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 25, 555–560.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Blanchard, E. B., Jones-Alexander, J., Buckley, T. C., & Forneris, C. A. (1996). Psychometric properties of the PTSD checklist (PCL). Behavioral Research & Therapy, 34, 669–673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bliese, P. D., Wright, K. M., Adler, A. B., Cabrera, O., Castrol, C. A., & Hoge, C. W. (2008). Validating the primary care posttraumatic stress disorder screen and the posttraumatic stress disorder checklist with soldiers returning from combat. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 272–281.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bonner, L. M., Lanto, A. B., Bolkan, C., Watson, G. S., Campbell, D. G., Chaney, E. F., et al. (2013). Help-seeking from clergy and spiritual counselors among veterans with depression and PTSD in primary care. Journal of Religion and Health, 52, 707–718.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Büssing, A. (2010a). Spirituality as a resource to rely on in chronic illness: The SpREUK Questionnaire. Religions, 1, 9–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Büssing, A. (2010b). The SpREUK-SF10 questionnaire as a rapid measure of spiritual search and religious trust in patients with chronic diseases. Journal of Integrated Chinese Medicine, 8, 832–841.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Büssing, A. (2015) Spirituality/religiosity as a resource to cope in soldiers—A summarizing report. (Chapter of the NATO panel report HFM-195). Medical Acupuncture (accepted for publication).Google Scholar
  8. Büssing, A., Balzat, H. J., & Heusser, P. (2010). Spiritual needs of patients with chronic pain diseases and cancer—Validation of the spiritual needs questionnaire. European Journal of Medical Research, 15, 266–273.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Büssing, A., Fischer, J., Haller, A., Ostermann, T., & Matthiessen, P. F. (2009a). Validation of the brief multidimensional life satisfaction scale in patients with chronic diseases. European Journal of Medical Research, 14, 171–177.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Büssing, A., Janko, A., Baumann, K., Hvidt, N. C., & Kopf, A. (2013). Spiritual needs among patients with chronic pain diseases and cancer living in a secular society. Pain Medicine, 14, 1362–1373.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Büssing, A., Janko, A., Kopf, A., Lux, E. A., & Frick, E. (2012). Zusammenhänge zwischen psychosozialen und spirituellen Bedürfnissen und Bewertung von Krankheit bei Patienten mit chronischen Erkrankungen. Spiritual Care, 1, 57–73.Google Scholar
  12. Büssing, A., Michalsen, A., Balzat, H. J., Grünther, R. A., Ostermann, T., Neugebauer, E. A., & Matthiessen, P. F. (2009b). Are spirituality and religiosity resources for patients with chronic pain conditions? Pain Medicine, 10, 327–339.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Büssing, A., Ostermann, T., & Matthiessen, P. F. (2005). Role of religion and spirituality in medical patients: Confirmatory results with the SpREUK questionnaire. Health Qual Life Outcomes, 3, 10 (http://www.hqlo.com/content/3/1/10)
  14. Cobb, M. R., Puchalski, C. M., & Rumbold, B. (2012). Oxford textbook of spirituality in healthcare. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cohen, S., & Williamson, G. (1988). Perceived stress in a probability sample of the United States. In S. Spacapan & S. Oskamp (Eds.), The social psychology of health: Claremont symposium on applied social psychology. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  16. Erikson, E. H. (1974). Dimensions of a new identity. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  17. Frick, E., Büssing, A., Baumann, K., Weig, W., & Jacobs, C. (2015) Do self-efficacy expectation and spirituality provide a buffer against stress-associated impairment of health? A comprehensive analysis of the German Pastoral Ministry Study. Journal of Religion and Health, March 2015 {Online first: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10943-015-0040-7
  18. Hasanović, M., & Pajević, I. (2013). Religious moral beliefs inversely related to trauma experiences severity and depression severity among war veterans in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Journal of Religion and Health, 52, 730–739.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Hourani, L. L., Williams, J., Forman-Hoffman, V., Lane, M. E., Weimer, B., & Bray, R. M. (2012). Influence of spirituality on depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and suicidality in active duty military personnel. Depression Research and Treatment, Article ID 425463 (http://www.hindawi.com/journals/drt/2012/425463)
  20. Hu, L. T., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 1–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Huffort, D. J., Fritts, M. J., & Rhodes, J. E. (2010). Spiritual fitness. Military Medicine, 175, 73–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jonas, W. B., O’Connor, F. G., Deuster, P., Peck, J., Shake, C., & Frost, S. S. (2010). Why total force fitness? Military Medicine, 175, 6–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kimerling, R. (2009). Examining the diagnostic and clinical utility of the PTSD Checklist. HSR&D Study: SHP-169. United States Department of Veteran Affairs. (http://www.hsrd.research.va.gov/research/abstracts.cfm?Project_ID=2141698713). Last accessed January 31, 2015.
  24. Koenig, H. G., King, D., & Carson, V. B. (2010). Handbook of religion and health (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Kopacz, M. S. (2013). Providing pastoral care services in a clinical setting to veterans at-risk of suicide. Journal of Religion and Health, 52, 759–767.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Lin, H. R., & Bauer-Wu, S. M. (2003). Psycho-spiritual well-being in patients with advanced cancer: An integrative review of the literature. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 44, 69–80.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Pargament, K. (1997). The psychology of religion and coping: Theory, research, practice. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  28. PCL-M – Posttraumatic stress assessment (Source file). Afterdeployment.org (http://afterdeployment.dcoe.mil/sites/default/files/pdfs/assessment-tools/post-traumatic-stress-assessment.pdf) Last accessed January 31, 2015.
  29. Wansink, B., & Wansink, C. S. (2013). Are there atheists in foxholes? Combat intensity and religious behavior. Journal of Religion and Health, 52, 768–779.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Weathers, F., Litz, B., Herman, D., Huska, J., & Keane, T. (1993). The PTSD Checklist (PCL): Reliability, validity, and diagnostic utility. In Paper presented at the annual convention of the international society for traumatic stress studies. San Antonio, TX (http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/pages/assessments/ptsd-checklist.asp). Last accessed January 31, 2015.
  31. Wester, F.C. (Data collected 2009). Soldier spirituality in a combat zone: Preliminary findings about correlations with ethics and resiliency. The Army’s Excellence in Character, Ethics, and Leadership (EXCEL) survey. (http://isme.tamu.edu/ISME11/Wester-ISME2011.pdf) Last accessed Jan 31, 2015.
  32. Zwingmann, C., Müller, C., Körber, J., & Murken, S. (2008). Religious commitment, religious coping and anxiety: A study in German patients with breast cancer. European Journal of Cancer Care, 17, 361–370.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Zwingmann, C., Wirtz, M., Müller, C., Körber, J., & Murken, S. (2006). Positive and negative religious coping in German breast cancer patients. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 29, 533–547.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Quality of Life, Spirituality and Coping, Center for Integrative MedicineWitten/Herdecke UniversityHerdeckeGermany

Personalised recommendations