MSU and Army study veterans’ mental health

Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 1:17 PM EDT
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A partnership between Michigan State University and the United States Army produced a new report on veterans and mental health, the university said in a news release Wednesday.

The study, “Development of character strengths across the deployment cycle among U.S. Army soldiers,” found that soldiers returning from overseas deployment struggle more with mental health if they were before they left.

“Veterans’ substance abuse, domestic violence and suicide rates are higher than other populations; the Army knew it was time to more closely track psychological traits before and after they deployed,” William Chopik, MSU associate professor of psychology and lead author, said in the release. “Our research suggests that many mental health struggles existed before they were sent overseas.”

The study looked at what researches called “character strengths” and found those who scored high on such measures continued to do so upon return from deployment.

“Our findings suggest that people who are stable with positive character strengths prior to deployment – which was the majority of soldiers – don’t have high rates of substance abuse, depression or other struggles once they return from combat,” Chopik said in the release. “If someone from this group struggled once coming home, they were able to bounce back.”

The study is available by

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