A longitudinal study of distal and proximal predictors of psychological functioning post-deployment in the australian defence force: the role of cognitive ability explored

Ms Rosemary Patton (2008). A longitudinal study of distal and proximal predictors of psychological functioning post-deployment in the australian defence force: the role of cognitive ability explored Professional Doctorate, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Ms Rosemary Patton
Thesis Title A longitudinal study of distal and proximal predictors of psychological functioning post-deployment in the australian defence force: the role of cognitive ability explored
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2008
Thesis type Professional Doctorate
Supervisor Professor Justin Kenardy
Total pages 207
Total black and white pages 207
Abstract/Summary There are a range of distal (i.e., pre-trauma) and proximal (i.e., peri- and post-trauma) predictors of posttraumatic mental health. Among these is cognitive ability level, which has generally been reported to share a dose-response relationship with risk for chronic PTSD diagnosis. However, the risk or protection conferred by cognitive ability for mental health symptoms close to the time of exposure to traumatic and non-traumatic stress has to date not been explored. Additionally, the possibility that it serves as a moderator of the effects of other pre-, peri- and post-trauma factors has not been examined. Whether there is variability in the predictors of commonly comorbid mental health problems such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and general psychological distress (GPD) including depression and anxiety symptoms, has received little research attention. Moreover, the issue of whether the risk and protective factors of such commonly comorbid mental health problems vary across time has received little research scrutiny. The current study addresses these noted gaps in the extant literature in a longitudinal within-subjects design. Participants were 664 individual members of the Australian Defence Force who had recently completed an overseas operational deployment. Participants were assessed at the end of deployment and then again approximately five months later. Data was analysed via hierarchical multiple regression to allow for the examination of main effects and moderation. Partial support for the hypotheses posed was provided by the current findings. The effects regarding cognitive ability were inconsistent but did demonstrate evidence of being a main effect predictor and moderator of mental health outcome. In addition to the inconsistent effects of cognitive ability, other predictors of mental health post-deployment included non-traumatic stress exposure, peri-traumatic and enduring emotionality, overall personal deployment experience, team morale, the anticipation of difficulty on return home, the amount of time away from home in the past year, marital status, gender and age. As expected, there were some similarities and differences in the predictors of PTSD and GPD symptomatology, possibly due to the apparent underlying processes and similarity and uniqueness of certain symptoms of PTSD and GPD. At the acute phase post-deployment, while proximal predictors accounted for more variance than distal predictors, there were fewer significant predictors of change in longitudinal mental health than there were for acute mental health. While the vast majority of returning ADF veterans reported minimal mental health problems, a delayed onset of elevated PTSD symptomatology and a chronic course of PTSD symptomatology were demonstrated by 7% and 3% of participants respectively. The findings are discussed in terms of future research directions and important clinical and organisational implications.
Keyword COGNITIVE ABILITY
AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE
PREDICTORS
PSYCHOLOGICAL FUNCTIONING
POST-DEPLOYMENT
LONGITUDINAL
Additional Notes Pages 78 & 79 are landscape.

 
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Created: Tue, 17 Feb 2009, 12:48:10 EST by Ms Rosemary Patton