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Risk and Resilience Factors

Analyze the risk and resilience factors in each Case Study. Include a brief description of each factor and explain why you think each is a risk or resilience factor. Based on your analysis, explain which of the two combat veterans was highly affected.

Resilience factors, such as a strong social support system, can contribute to a soldier’s ability to cope with traumatic events during deployment and can ultimately facilitate his or her readjustment upon returning home. Similarly, risk factors, such as prior exposure to trauma, can be detrimental to a soldier’s ability to cope during deployment and can impair his or her readjustment upon returning home. There are exceptions, of course. For example, even the most resilient soldier can be pushed beyond his or her capacity to cope with a traumatic event. Conversely, a soldier who exhibits risk factors will not necessarily develop a psychological disorder. This is why assessment is critical at all stages of a soldier’s exposure to combat and war.

In this Assignment, you will analyze risk and resilience factors associated with soldiers in two case studies. Then, based on your analysis, you will determine which soldier might have a greater risk for developing a combat-related psychological disorder.

To prepare for this Assignment:

  • Pay particular attention to specific risk and resilience factors related to pre-deployment background, deployment-related experiences and perceptions, and post-deployment events and circumstances.
  • Focus on pre-deployment, war-zone, and post-deployment risk and resilience factors. Consider the relationship between risk and resilience factors and posttraumatic stress symptomology.
  • Review the Week 8 Case Studies. Reflect on each specialist’s social support system and exposure to trauma before, during, and after deployment. Also, consider the living and working conditions and combat experiences of each specialist during deployment.
  • Identify risk and resilience factors related to pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment for both specialists in the case studies.
  • Based on each specialist’s risk and resilience factors, consider who might have a greater risk for developing a combat-related psychological disorder and why
  • Case Study #1 Specialist Ramirez—U.S. Army Specialist Ramirez joined the Army a week after he turned 21. Before he left for basic training, his wife, parents, and many of his neighbors celebrated his patriotism at a backyard barbecue. After completing basic training, Ramirez was deployed to Iraq with the 4th Infantry Division and assigned to a combat team. The soldiers on Ramirez’s combat team formed a strong bond and trusted each other with their lives on a daily basis. Although it was rarely stated, they all knew they could depend on each other in the worst of circumstances. Ramirez and his team routinely engaged in combat patrols that were long, hot, and stressful and had endured several firefights with Iraqi insurgents within 3 months of their arrival in Iraq. One day, Ramirez was driving a Humvee in a convoy when an IED (improvised explosive device) detonated, destroying the Humvee ahead of him. The severed arm of one of his comrades flew back, hitting the hood of his vehicle. A few minutes later, he learned that two of his comrades were killed in the explosion. In the days and weeks after the explosion, Ramirez felt he was in constant danger and doubted he would survive his deployment. Also, he worried about how his young wife was coping with living alone off-post back home. Her frequent letters when he was first deployed had dwindled to two or three per month. Ramirez returned to the United States after a 16-month deployment in Iraq. He and his comrades went through a reintegration screening at Fort Hood upon their return. Although his deployment had strained his relationship with his wife, within a month of his homecoming, their relationship was back to normal. Third graders from his old elementary school sent cards and letters showing their appreciation for his service. His father visited, listening quietly while Ramirez described some of his experiences in Iraq. Three months after his return, he reported for rescreening by the Army for medical and psychological problems, which yielded no significant findings except for minor problems concentrating on the day-to-day demands of life at home.
  • Case Study #2 Specialist Johnson—U.S. Army Specialist Johnson joined the Army at age 20, after being displaced from New Orleans to Houston following Hurricane Katrina. He had been living on his own since his parents divorced 2 years earlier. It was raining in Texas the day he left for basic training. After completing basic training, Johnson was deployed to Iraq with the 4th Infantry Division. He was assigned as the driver for a Public Affairs Major who routinely visited various neighborhoods in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities. The Major was often tough on Johnson, and Johnson thought the Major was overly critical. At the end of each day, Johnson was grateful to return to his bunk and relative safety inside the Green Zone, a U.S.-occupied and heavily guarded area of Baghdad. Other than small arms fire in the distance, Johnson never faced any direct combat. One day, he and the Major went into Baghdad to visit a family who had reported the death of their daughter. When they arrived at the family home, what they presumed to be the body of the missing daughter lay in the street in front of the house. Her burned body was almost © 2014 Laureate Education, Inc. Page 1 of 2 unrecognizable as human. Following this incident, Johnson met with a combat stress counselor in the Green Zone to discuss the experience. Johnson returned to the United States after a 16-month deployment. He went through a reintegration screening at Fort Hood with no significant findings. Once on leave, he visited his old neighborhood in New Orleans. Some of his neighbors had rebuilt their homes, and some were still living in FEMA trailers. Many others had never returned after the hurricane. Three months after his return to the United States, Johnson reported for rescreening by the Army for medical and psychological problems. While he denied stressors related to his deployment in Iraq, he did report feeling uneasy after his leave in New Orleans.
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Category: Sample Questions