Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Air Force Women Are Handling The Stress

Date:
August 20, 2007
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
About 20 percent of Air Force women deployed during the Iraq war report that they are experiencing at least one major symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a survey of 1,114 servicewomen. Researchers found that women who experienced higher levels of family-work conflict were more likely to have symptoms of depression and anxiety, and were also less likely to feel they could cope with daily demands and responsibilities.

About 20 percent of Air Force women deployed during the Iraq war report that they are experiencing at least one major symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a University of Michigan survey of 1,114 servicewomen.

Related Articles


The researchers also assessed the prevalence of family-work conflicts among the military women surveyed, and analyzed the impact of these conflicts on mental health and job functioning.

"We were surprised to find that work-family conflict is an independent and significant predictor of PTSD, above and beyond combat exposure," said Penny Pierce, a colonel in the Air Force Reserve Program, who presented preliminary findings from the survey at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association. "This finding is important because there are things we can do to help minimize work-family stress and the toll it is taking on women in the military."

Conducted by the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR) and funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense through the TriService Nursing Research Program, the survey is part of an ongoing study headed by Pierce, an associate professor in the U-M School of Nursing and a faculty associate at the ISR and ISR research professor Amiram Vinokur.

"Since the Gulf War, the role of women in combat has been a subject of heated debate," said Pierce. "This study is the latest attempt to assess the impact of deployment-related stressors, including family separation, on military women, who now comprise 13 percent of our nation's armed forces."

Nearly half of the women surveyed said that their home-life rarely or never interfered with their work or made it difficult for them to accomplish daily tasks and spend the time they would like to on career-related activities.

But the researchers found that women who experienced higher levels of family-work conflict were more likely to have symptoms of depression and anxiety, and were also less likely to feel they could cope with daily demands and responsibilities.

"We cannot hope to take away the stress of combat, but the additional stress caused by family-work conflicts can be modified," said Pierce. "Steps can be taken to reduce the anxiety and depression of servicewomen who are worried about what is happening on the home front. In the near future, we hope to identify some areas where we can intervene to help reduce this source of stress."

A related study of Air Force men that is now underway will establish the levels of wartime stress and of family-work conflict men are experiencing, Pierce noted, as well as its relation to their mental health and ability to perform their jobs.

In a similar U-M study of women serving during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Pierce and Vinokur found that the family-work conflict women veterans experienced was greater than that found in representative community samples of the time.

In other findings from the current survey presented at the APA convention, Pierce and colleague Lisa Lewandowski reported that about 51 percent of the women surveyed said it was "very likely" or "extremely likely" that they would continue to serve in the Air Force. About 18 percent said it was "likely" they would re-enlist.

According to Lewandowski, the perceived attitudes of the women's significant others and their own views about the military were significant predictors of their intentions to re-enlist.

"Despite the stress of serving in a long conflict where multiple deployments are a very real possibility, the high proportion intending to stay in the military suggests the level of commitment in today's all-volunteer service," said Pierce.

Methodology and Demographics: The Defense Manpower Data Center provided contact information for a random sample stratified by deployment to theater of war, parental status and military component of 2,344 Air Force women deployed at least one time since March 19, 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The work-family study included analyses of 1,114 women who met inclusion criteria. These women participated in telephone interviews and mailed questionnaires. Their mean age was 36 years; mean education was 14.7 years; 44.6 percent were married; 29.9 percent were never married; 22.7 percent divorced; the remainder were separated or widowed; 35.9 percent had a dependent child during their deployment; medium household income was $47,220; 74.2 percent were enlisted: and 25.8 percent were officers. The retention study analyzed data from a sample of 1,047 women. About 62 percent were deployed in a theater of war.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "How Air Force Women Are Handling The Stress." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070819133757.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2007, August 20). How Air Force Women Are Handling The Stress. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070819133757.htm
University of Michigan. "How Air Force Women Are Handling The Stress." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070819133757.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins