Average Military Service Length and Soldiers’ General Health

AUTHORS

Arsia Taghva 1 , Masoud Azizi 2 , * , Mohammad Hossein Rajabian 3 , Mojgan Khademi 4 , Abbas Omid 3 , Vahid Donyavi 1 , Seyed Mozaffar Rohani 3

1 Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Disaster and Military Psychiatry Research Center, AJA University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran

2 Department of English Language and Literature, University of Tehran, Tehran, IR Iran

3 Department of Psychiatry, AJA University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran

4 Department of Psychiatry, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran

How to Cite: Taghva A, Azizi M, Rajabian M H, Khademi M, Omid A, et al. Average Military Service Length and Soldiers’ General Health, J Arch Mil Med. 2014 ; 2(4):e93727. doi: 0.5812/jamm.20604.

ARTICLE INFORMATION

Journal of Archives in Military Medicine: 2 (4); e93727
Published Online: October 18, 2014
Article Type: Research Article
Received: May 15, 2019
Accepted: September 16, 2014
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Abstract

Background: Military service constitutes a stressful phase of an individual’s life, which can have psychological consequences and affect both their mental and physical health. Different variables in this regard have been examined so far, but the role of average length of service has gone unnoticed to a great extent.

Objectives: As a result, the present study was an attempt to examine the effect of military service length on soldiers’ mental health assessed by the use of the four subscales present in the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ- 28).

Patients and Methods: Seven-hundred soldiers from three different randomly selected military bases in the North, Center, and South of Iran took part in the present study. Data were collected on the participants’ demographical information as well as their general health condition using GHQ-28.

Results: Nearly 11 percent of the participants were diagnosed as having psychological disorders. The average service length for those diagnosed with psychological disorders was found to be 14.36 months (SD = 2.93), while it was only 8.5 months (SD = 1.89) in the case of healthy soldiers. Depressive symptoms were the most common problem among soldiers, with anxiety and social dysfunction standing second and third, respectively. The difference between the two groups’ length of service was found statistically significant in the case of all the three constructs being examined (depression = 0.00, anxiety = 0.03, social dysfunctioning = 0.01).

Conclusions: Soldiers represent a major proportion of the male population in the society in Iran, and their health condition can indicate the society’s general health condition. However, it seems that as one’s length of service increases, the risk of suffering from psychological disorders is raised, which threatens the whole society’s psychological health conditions. The results of the present study imply that in order to have healthier individuals in the army and the society as a result, authorities need to take action.

Keywords

Health Soldiers Depression Anxiety Military Service Length

© 2014, Journal of Archives in Military Medicine. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the original work is properly cited.

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