Effects of War Exposure on Air Force Personnel's Mental Health, Job Burnout and Other Organizational Related Outcomes

Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248, USA.
Journal of Occupational Health Psychology (Impact Factor: 2.07). 01/2011; 16(1):3-17. DOI: 10.1037/a0021617
Source: PubMed


Longitudinal data from a stratified representative sample of U.S. Air Force personnel (N = 1009) deployed to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations were analyzed in this study. Using structural equation models, we examined the effects of war exposure on traumatic experiences, Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) symptoms, resource loss, and on subsequent functioning, perceived health, and on job and organizationally relevant outcomes. The job and organizational outcomes included job burnout, job involvement, job strain, job satisfaction, work-family conflict, organizational commitment, deployment readiness, and intention to reenlist. We found that deployment to the theater of the war increased risk of exposure to trauma, which in turn, predicted elevated PTS symptoms and resource loss. PTS symptoms predicted later loss of resources and deterioration in perceived health and functioning. In turn, resource loss predicted negative job and organizational outcomes. Exposure to trauma fully mediated the effects of deployment to the theater of war on PTS symptoms and resource loss and had additional significant indirect effects on several job and organizational relevant outcomes. For returning veterans, deployment to the theater of war, exposure to trauma, PTS symptoms, and resource loss represents a "cascading" chain of events that over time results in a decline of health and functioning as well as in adverse job and organizationally relevant outcomes that may affect organizational effectiveness.

Download full-text


Available from: Stevan E Hobfoll, Mar 17, 2014
  • Source
    • "The link between traumatic stressors and burnout is more tenuous in the extant research, but we do expect a positive relationship between these variables. Studies on military personnel's exposure to war (Vinokur et al., 2011) and forensic doctors' experience of tragic stressors (van der Ploeg et al., 2003) provided support for the idea that traumatic stressors may be associated with burnout. In the current study, we aim to replicate the relationship between traumatic stressors and burnout in firefighters. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although our understanding of workplace stressors has grown across the past 30 years, this research has generally ignored traumatic workplace stressors. This is a serious omission, given that many occupations (e.g., firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and police) are frequently exposed to traumatic stressors. As such, the first purpose of the current study was to examine the impact of exposure to traumatic stressors in firefighters. Post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), burnout, and absenteeism were investigated as cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes. Additionally, we sought to investigate coping humor as a mechanism for dealing with traumatic stressors. We frame these expectations by discussing humor from a transactional theory of emotion/coping perspective, as well as through humor's social bonding feature and its ability to combat the physiological impact of stressors. We surveyed 179 firefighters at two time points on relevant variables, with dependent variables collected at Time 2. The results indicated that traumatic events significantly predicted burnout, PTSD, and absenteeism and that coping humor buffered this relationship for burnout and PTSD. We discuss the implications of these findings and call for more research investigating occupations in which traumatic stressors are a concern, as well as for more integration of humor into the workplace literature. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Journal of Organizational Behavior 02/2014; 35(2). DOI:10.1002/job.1868 · 3.85 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "A traumatic event may influence responses on pre-trauma phenomena when data is collected retrospectively (Byron and Peterson, 2002). A longitudinal study by Vinokur et al. (2011) examined the OC of US military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. The research findings showed that the OC of active duty military personnel was negatively affected by conditions arising from the war. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We examine organizational commitment in foreign-invested and indigenous firms located in an operating environment characterized by ethnopolitical conflict and its violent manifestations of civil war and terrorism. Drawing on the management, psychology, and political science literature streams, we investigate whether employee sensitivity to ethnopolitical conflict contributes to explaining organizational commitment in a violent operating environment. The results of hierarchical regression analysis reveal that employee sensitivity to ethnopolitical conflict is inversely related to organizational commitment and has explanatory power beyond the traditional predictors of organizational commitment. Further, perceived organizational support is found to attenuate the negative relationship between employee sensitivity to ethnopolitical conflict and organizational commitment in foreign-invested firms but not in indigenous firms. The data suggest that an operating environment beset with violent ethnopolitical conflict may exact an indirect cost on the firm through lowered employee commitment, and that foreign-invested firms through a ‘foreignness advantage’ can manage this potential cost by maintaining a high level of perceived organizational support among their employees. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
    Journal of International Management 03/2012; 18(1). DOI:10.1016/j.intman.2011.09.002 · 1.70 Impact Factor

Show more