Combat stressors and post-traumatic stress in deployed military healthcare professionals: an integrative review
Article first published online: 2 JUN 2011
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Advanced Nursing
Volume 68, Issue 1, pages 3–21, January 2012
How to Cite
Gibbons, S. W., Hickling, E. J. and Watts, D. D. (2012), Combat stressors and post-traumatic stress in deployed military healthcare professionals: an integrative review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68: 3–21. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2011.05708.x
- Issue published online: 15 DEC 2011
- Article first published online: 2 JUN 2011
- Accepted for publication 12 March 2011
- combat stress;
- integrative review;
- military healthcare provider;
- post-traumatic stress disorder
gibbons s.w., hickling e.j. & watts d.d. (2012) Combat stressors and post-traumatic stress in deployed military healthcare professionals: an integrative review. Journal of Advanced Nursing68(1), 3–21.
Background. While there has been a growing body of literature on the impact of combat stressors and post-traumatic stress on military service members involved in current conflicts, there has been little available information that directly examines the impact of these on healthcare providers.
Aims. Aims for this integrative review included: (1) identifying exposures, experiences and other factors influencing stress responses in military healthcare providers previously engaged in a war effort and (2) describing the incidence of post-traumatic stress and related mental health problems in this population.
Review Methods. Using Cooper’s integrative review method, relevant documents were collected and analysed using content categories and a coding scheme to assist with identifying and recording data for units of analysis.
Data Sources. Literature searches (including all years to present) were conducted using keywords for stress reaction, for healthcare provider and for military war effort involvement. Literature was obtained using the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, the National Library of Medicine and the American Psychological Association databases.
Results. Evidence suggests that similar to military combatants, military healthcare provider exposure to life-threatening situations will increase the probability of adverse psychological disorders following these traumatic experiences. The presence of a strong sense of meaning and purpose, within a supportive environment appear to help mediate the impact of these dangerous and stressful events.
Conclusion. Results of this review and other supporting literature indicate the need for a systematic approach to studying combat stress and post-traumatic stress in deployed healthcare providers.