Influence of Spirituality on Depression, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Suicidality in Active Duty Military Personnel
Understanding the role of spirituality as a potential coping mechanism for military personnel is important given growing concern about the mental health issues of personnel returning from war. This study seeks to determine the extent to which spirituality is associated with selected mental health problems among active duty military personnel and whether it moderates the relationship between combat exposure/deployment and (a) depression, (b) posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and (c) suicidality in active duty military personnel. Data were drawn from the 2008 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Active Duty Military Personnel. Over 24,000 randomly selected active duty personnel worldwide completed an anonymous self-report questionnaire. High spirituality had a significant protective effect only for depression symptoms. Medium, as opposed to high or low, levels of spirituality buffered each of the mental health outcomes to some degree. Medium and low spirituality levels predicted depression symptoms but only among those with moderate combat exposure. Medium spirituality levels also predicted PTSD symptoms among those with moderate levels of combat exposure and predicted self-reported suicidal ideation/attempt among those never deployed. These results point to the complex relationship between spirituality and mental health, particularly among military personnel and the need for further research
Hourani, L., Williams, J., Forman-Hoffman, V., Lane, M., Weimer, B., & Bray, R. (2012). Influence of Spirituality on Depression, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Suicidality in Active Duty Military Personnel. Depression Research and Treatment, 2012, Article ID 425463.