Community integration after deployment to Afghanistan: a longitudinal investigation of Danish soldiers

Abstract

In the years following military deployment, soldiers may experience problems integrating into the community. However, little is known about the nature and prevalence of these problems and if they relate to posttraumatic symptomatology. In a prospective, longitudinal study of Danish soldiers deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 (N = 743), we assessed community reintegration difficulties 2.5 years after home coming (study sample: N = 454). Furthermore, symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were assessed before, during, and after deployment. Trajectories of PTSD symptoms from a previously published latent growth mixture modeling analysis were used to address whether community reintegration difficulties differ as a result of course and level of PTSD symptoms. Between 3.6 and 18.0 % reported to have some, a lot, or extreme difficulties in reintegration domains such as interpersonal functioning, productivity, community involvement, and self-care. Mean level of reintegration difficulties differed significantly across six PTSD symptom trajectories (range 6.35–36.00); with more symptomatic trajectories experiencing greater community reintegration difficulties. Reintegration difficulties after deployment are present in less than 20 % of Danish soldiers who return from Afghanistan. Difficulties are greater in individuals who follow symptomatic PTSD trajectories in the first years following deployment than in those who follow a low-stable trajectory with no or few symptoms.

DOI: 10.1007/s00127-014-0973-2

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Cite this paper

@article{Karstoft2014CommunityIA, title={Community integration after deployment to Afghanistan: a longitudinal investigation of Danish soldiers}, author={Karen-Inge Karstoft and Cherie Armour and S\oren B. Andersen and Mette Bertelsen and Trine Madsen}, journal={Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology}, year={2014}, volume={50}, pages={653-660} }