Alcohol and stress in Norwegian United Nations peacekeepers.

Abstract

Peacekeepers are frequently exposed to dangerous, provoking, or humiliating situations and have limited possibilities to express the resulting anger and frustrations. Self-medication with alcohol and drugs to calm down may result. A representative sample (N = 888) of Norwegian United Nations veterans who served in South Lebanon completed a questionnaire regarding service-related stress and the role of alcohol in stress management. A total of 43.5% of the respondents reported that they had increased their consumption of alcohol during the mission. Overall, only a minority gave reasons such as tension, restlessness, anxiety, and stress to explain the increase. Respondents who had been exposed to the highest levels of stress, however, reported significantly more frequently these potentially pathological reasons for increased drinking. To prevent such outcomes, personnel need to be screened for risk reactions and to be educated in alternative stress management measures. Furthermore, management of both stress and the destructive use of alcohol is clearly a leadership issue.

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@article{Mehlum1999AlcoholAS, title={Alcohol and stress in Norwegian United Nations peacekeepers.}, author={Lars Mehlum}, journal={Military medicine}, year={1999}, volume={164 10}, pages={720-4} }