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Why is screening for psychological symptoms prior to deployment within the UK Military ineffective? Read the full article to find out!


The Contribution of Prior Psychological Symptoms and Combat Exposure to Post Iraq Deployment Mental Health in UK Military
Rona, R.J. & al. (2009)
 
This study assessed within the UK Military the contribution of baseline psychological symptoms, combat exposure, and unit support in the etiology of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and psychological distress. The results showed that combat exposure and group cohesion had an effect on mental health outcomes independent of previous mental health status. Therefore, it seems that screening prior to deployment is not an effective prevention strategy for PTSD.  


Method

N= 4500, where only half of the participants were sent to Iraq. Questionnaires were administered twice (before and after the deployment). Here are some examples of questionnaires used in this research.
→ PTSD Checklist
→ GHQ-12 (General Health Questionnaire)
→ SF-36 (Self-Assessment of Health Status)

Discussion
The authors revealed that several interpretations were possible, one of which suggests that baseline psychological symptoms may correspond to an ongoing issue unrelated to combat exposures.  

To learn more about this study, consult the article in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, 22 (1), 11-19