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The role of military chaplains in mental health care of the deployed service member.

Besterman-Dahan K, Gibbons SW, Barnett SD, Hickling EJ. The role of military chaplains in mental health care of the deployed service member. Military medicine. 2012 Sep 1; 177(9):1028-33.

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This research utilized a cross-sectional design secondarily analyzing data from active duty military health care personnel who anonymously completed the "2005 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Active Duty Military Personnel." Sample for this analysis of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom deployed mental health seeking service members was N = 447. Religiosity/spirituality and psychological distress experienced by active duty military personnel who sought help from military mental health providers (MH), military chaplains (CHC) or both (CHC and MH) were explored and compared. Greater psychosocial distress seen in the CHC and MH group could be a reflection of a successful collaborative model for mental health care that is currently promoted by the military where chaplains are first line providers in an effort to provide services to those in greatest need and ultimately provide them with care from a trained mental health professional. Research and evaluation of chaplain training programs and collaborative models is recommended.

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