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Download e-book Once I Was (Part 3) A Retired Major Adjusting to Civilian Life

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A Veteran Shares Her Tips For Transitioning From Military To Civilian Life - Money - TIME

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Those who consented to share their data were included in the final sample. The majority of participants were between the ages of 45 and 49 years The questionnaire was based mainly on the content of the Canadian Community Health Survey completed by Statistics Canada in and was administered in February—March by Statistics Canada, using a computer-assisted telephone interviewing system. Description of study Veterans. The current study focused on a subset of STCL measures including life stress, health, mastery, social environmental factors, and the adjustment to civilian life.

Table 1 presents the percentages and confidence intervals CI for these variables as well as demographic variables. Participants were asked a series of questions regarding physical health conditions PHC , which were grouped as musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, hearing problems, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and chronic pain or discomfort , and mental health conditions MHC , such as mood disorder, anxiety disorder, depression, and PTSD.

Higher scores indicated a higher level of control. Responses were categorized according to a low, medium, and high mastery. A participant scoring seven or lower was considered to have low mastery, while an individual who scored 23 or greater was considered to have high mastery. Adjustment to civilian life measured how well Veterans felt they had adapted to civilian life after transitioning from the military.

The sample data were used to conduct Kendall's tau correlations. Prevalence estimates, 95 per cent CIs, and ordinal logistic regression were conducted using weighted data that accounted for the complex survey design to ensure findings were representative of the sampled Veteran population. The regression plan included age and sex variables, but since they were not significant in the first model, they were not included in the second model for parsimony. The descriptive statistics for all of the study variables are presented in Table 1. The majority of Veterans were male More than half were found to have an easy adjustment to civilian life Some Veterans found most days were a bit stressful Kendall Tau's correlations among the variables contained in the model are presented in Table 2.

All correlations were lower than 0. Table 2.

The Tragedy of the American Military

Kendall Tau's correlations among variables. Note: Although many of the correlations were significant they may not all be meaningful given the large sample size. Two ordinal logistic regression analyses were conducted: 1 health-related variables, including sex, and 2 mastery and social support variables. For both models, adjustment to civilian life was the dependent variable. The goal of the first model Table 3 was to examine the observed differences between the adjustment to civilian life and health-related variables that is, PHC, MHC, and life stress.

Age and sex were not significant. Table 3. Models 1 and 2: adjusted odds of adjustment to civilian life. Note: Adjusted odds of an easy or neutral adjustment to civilian life compared to a difficult adjustment and adjusted odds of an easy adjustment to civilian life compared to a difficult or neutral adjustment. The goal of the second model Table 3 was to examine the addition of mastery, social support, and community belonging to the model.

This model shows that once these three variables were inputted into the model, the odds ratios of life stress and self-reported PHC and MHC increased closer to one, indicating a potential protective effect of adding these variables to the model. For both models, age and sex were not significant. This study found that high levels of mastery, social support, and community belonging were associated with better self-reported health, lower levels of stress, and an easier adjustment to civilian life.

The significant association of mastery and social support with the adjustment to civilian life remained after controlling for health conditions and stress. These findings are in line with those of previous studies, which have indicated the importance of psychosocial resources, such as mastery, social support, and community belonging in protecting against the adverse effects of stress.

Individual Planning and Personal Development

Mastery may be an important resource in transition, as it has been shown to help ease adjustment in several different areas. Results from the current study confirm that individuals with a lower sense of mastery reported a more difficult adjustment to civilian life.

Separation & Transition

These results indicate that mastery skills should be taught and nurtured throughout the CAF career to ease transition. There has been limited research on training programs to enhance mastery as a personal resource. The enhancement of mastery is an important component of training programs and workshops to facilitate employment and reduce depressive symptoms among the unemployed.

For example, hardiness, which is a construct conceptually similar to mastery in that both involve positive expectancy and a sense of personal responsibility toward the future, 28 has been found to increase following a hardiness training program. Elements of the social environment for example, social support and community belonging are important resiliency factors for Veterans transitioning from military to civilian life.

Higher levels of social support have been associated with fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Individuals who reported lower satisfaction with support also reported a more difficult adjustment to civilian life.

This indicates the value of having programs and services during transition that assist members in maintaining or developing social support networks. There were several limitations in the current study. One of the main limitations was that the study was based on cross-sectional data.

Therefore, it was not possible to determine whether self-reported health issues and life stress resulted from difficult transition experiences or whether such issues led to a difficult adjustment. Similarly, it is not clear whether psychosocial resources assist with the adjustment to civilian life or whether successful transition leads to increased feelings of mastery and support.

Although the adjustment to civilian life was found to be associated with individual and social resources in this cross-sectional study, only longitudinal research will be able to examine the causal relationships among the variables.

Factors in addition to those studied can affect the transition to civilian life for example, military culture and financial status. In future research, a variety of factors should be examined, and some of the constructs could be further expanded upon to adequately assess the experiences of Veterans. The single item on adjustment to civilian life may have been interpreted in different ways by different participants, such that some only considered the period immediately following the transition to civilian life, while others may have considered themselves continuing to adjust to civilian life several years later.

However, for this analysis, the timeframe for the survey following release was fairly short an average of seven years , and prior research has demonstrated no association between the years since release and the adjustment to civilian life. Additional limitations include the use of self-reporting data and the examination of only former Regular Force members over a year period of release.

There are limitations associated with self-reporting data, including potential issues with the recall of events that occurred in the past. Particularly for those who were released from the CAF in the earlier years of the study cohort, recalling the ease or difficulty of adjustment to civilian life when it occurred many years before the survey may be problematic.

In addition, the trajectory of outcomes over longer periods, therefore, could not be examined. In addition, only Regular Force Veterans were included in this study, although reservists may face unique issues with their transition experiences because of their dual civilian and military lives. The results of this study point to the importance of personal characteristics and aspects of the social environment in the adjustment to civilian life among military Veterans.

The results of this study are in line with past research, which has suggested the importance of psychosocial variables such as mastery and social support for individual well-being. To the extent that such resources are predictive of later outcomes, these intra- and interpersonal characteristics could be enhanced and developed throughout the military career to ease later adjustment.

None declared. This article has been peer reviewed.

The Difficult Transition from Military to Civilian Life | Pew Research Center

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