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McAndrew LM, Markowitz S, Lu SE, Borders A, Rothman D, Quigley KS. Resilience during war: Better unit cohesion and reductions in avoidant coping are associated with better mental health function after combat deployment. Psychological trauma : theory, research, practice and policy. 2017 Jan 1; 9(1):52-61.
OBJECTIVE: The majority of individuals who endure traumatic events are resilient; however, we do not yet understand why some individuals are more resilient than others. We used data from a prospective longitudinal study Army National Guard and Reserve personnel to examine how unit cohesion (military-specific social support) and avoidant coping relate to resilience over the first year after return from deployment. METHOD: Soldiers (N = 767) were assessed at 4 phases: predeployment (P1), immediately postdeployment (P2), 3 months' postdeployment (P3), and 1-year postdeployment (P4). RESULTS: After controlling for predeployment avoidant coping and overall social support, higher unit cohesion was associated with a reduction in avoidant coping (from P1 to P3). This reduction in avoidant coping (from P1 to P3) mediated the relationship between unit cohesion (P2) and improvement in mental health function (from P1 to P3). CONCLUSIONS: The results are consistent with the hypothesis that higher unit cohesion may mitigate increases in avoidant coping in military personnel after a combat deployment and in turn may improve mental health function. (PsycINFO Database Record