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MSU leads first study of resiliency on the battlefield
Date:1/4/2011

ave studied the psychological effects of combat after the fact, but this appears to be the first study to scientifically investigate resilience during wartime. The study analyzed traits including hopefulness, optimism and ego resilience, which basically means how well a person maintains psychological well-being during difficult times.

According to the study, the more stressful the combat situation, the more important the resiliency traits became. "Resiliency really shows itself when the chips are down," Schaubroeck said. "This is different than the way we often think about it. We often think about resiliency as having the same level of effects regardless of the level of stress."

On a practical note, Schaubroeck said leaders can play a crucial role in shaping a message of hope and optimism. It's especially important to target individuals experiencing trauma for the first time. If a rookie police officer witnesses a colleague get killed, for example, the officer needs to understand that an emotionally-charged reaction is normal, Schaubroeck said.

"The fact that you're crying because you saw someone get shot and you can't help them it's not unusual to be in that situation if you are a police officer," Schaubroeck said. "Leaders need to be sensitive to this when debriefing people and not depend entirely on health professionals. Oftentimes when you bring in health professionals, it's too late; the psychological situation has already gotten out of hand for the individual."


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Contact: John Schaubroeck
schaubroeck@bus.msu.edu
517-432-9943
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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