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PREDICTORS OF RESILIENCE AMONG COMMISSIONED OFFICERS IN THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE
Peat, Raquel Antonia
Desmond, Sharon M
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The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to examine the predictors of resilience and mental health among United States Public Health Service (USPHS) commissioned officers who have deployed. The study employed the Transactional Model of Stress and Coping (Antonovsky and Kats, 1967; Cohen, 1984; Lazarus and Cohen, 1977) to aid in evaluation of the above factors. Relatively few research studies have examined the concept of resilience, and to date, no study has systematically examined risk, social support, mental health and resilience in USPHS commissioned officers. A pilot study (N = 11) was conducted to determine acceptability of the survey items and assess time needed to complete the questionnaire. The final 94-item on-line survey was completed over a two month time period by a convenience sample of 534 USPHS commissioned officers. Univariate analyses demonstrated that when entered individually, team support, post-deployment social support and mental health (protective factors) and the covariates, gender and relationship status were significantly (p<0.05) associated with resilience, while predeployment affectivity (risk factor) was not. When all risk and protective factors were entered into the multivariate logistic regression model, team support, post-deployment social support, mental health, gender and being divorced as compared to being separated, widowed or living with a partner were found to be significantly associated with resilience (p<0.05). Also, both team support and resilience were negatively associated with mental illness measured using depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder subscales (p<0.05). Those USPHS commissioned officers who reported mental illness were less likely to be resilient. This study provides new data that may help improve our understanding of the resilience and mental health of USPHS commissioned officers, before and after deployment. Findings can be used to inform education and training programs for USPHS commissioned officers (e.g. coping skills training techniques) to help increase their ability to thrive despite adversity before and after deployment.