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Soldiers more likely to have experienced childhood abuse: study

McG

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It is anecdotal but, the majority of chronic disciplinary problems that I have encountered in the last few years seem have been individuals on first TOS who claim PTSD liked to some pre-enrolment abuses.  I have also encountered cases of suicide and attempted suicide liked to individuals of the same characteristics.  It was to the point that I had wondered if this was reflective of Canadian society or if the CF was recruiting a disproportionate number.

Just because we don't like what the numbers say on the surface, it might be better to start asking the "so what" questions as opposed to dismissing the results and attributing unsubstantiated malice to the researchers.
 

Fishbone Jones

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Pusser said:
The trouble with this type of research is that it tends to treat the armed forces as being representative of society.  They simply are not.  A proper cross-section of society (against which we're being compared) would include every identifiable group, including  those groups who would never join the military, regardless of the circumstances.  These groups skew the data when compared against the military population, which only includes members of groups that would join the military.

Yet, how many times, whether it be drugs, suicide, sexual deviancy, etc concerning CAF personnel, do we preface our posts with, "The CAF is just a cross section\ representation of Canadian society." in our posts?
 

Pusser

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recceguy said:
Yet, how many times, whether it be drugs, suicide, sexual deviancy, etc concerning CAF personnel, do we preface our posts with, "The CAF is just a cross section\ representation of Canadian society." in our posts?

I know we do that, but I've never agreed with it.  Form up any unit of the CF on parade and you can see that it simply isn't true.  The most obvious indication is that the number of women will not come anywhere close to 51%.
 

Shamrock

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MCG said:
It is anecdotal but, the majority of chronic disciplinary problems that I have encountered in the last few years seem have been individuals on first TOS who claim PTSD liked to some pre-enrolment abuses.  I have also encountered cases of suicide and attempted suicide liked to individuals of the same characteristics.  It was to the point that I had wondered if this was reflective of Canadian society or if the CF was recruiting a disproportionate number.

Just because we don't like what the numbers say on the surface, it might be better to start asking the "so what" questions as opposed to dismissing the results and attributing unsubstantiated malice to the researchers.

How does that compare with what the courts face among its accused (likely 18-21)?
 

McG

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Shamrock said:
How does that compare with what the courts face among its accused (likely 18-21)?
How does what compare?
 

Shamrock

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The numbers of accused in the court systems having similar instances of abuse/PTSD/etc.
 

Armymedic

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Thucydides said:
The "methodology" , including absurdly broad definitions of "abuse" and lack of meaningful samples or controls suggests that this is just another academic hit job where the conclusion was preordained and the data massaged to fit.

+1.

My initial response to reading the article was "BULLSHIT". Followed by the discussion point of, "Show me the numbers". If the comparison (as it is suggested in the article) is solely based on volunteer, anonymous and completely separate questionnaires I would be quick to dispute the findings.

 

Gunner98

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Annually there are researchers who approached the CAF with their hands out for grant money; they offer to provide detailed screening tests that would allow it to recruit "super soldiers" devoid of "pre-existing conditions - mental, physiological or social in nature".  Those are the types likely to publish their hypotheses.  They would like equipment like CAT scanners to be part of the applicants life prior to enrollment and at regular intervals during their career.
 

ModlrMike

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Simian Turner said:
Annually there are researchers who approached the CAF with their hands out for grant money; they offer to provide detailed screening tests that would allow it to recruit "super soldiers" devoid of "pre-existing conditions - mental, physiological or social in nature".  Those are the types likely to publish their hypotheses.  They would like equipment like CAT scanners to be part of the applicants life prior to enrollment and at regular intervals during their career.

With each head CT being equivalent to 8-16 months of background radiation, I'll pass.
 

geo

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Oh please!!!!!!
WTH?
A tap on the bum to get the child's attention does not equate to abuse... And even if doing so is tough on the child, it's even harder on the parent.
 

pbi

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In my (admitttedly stale-dated..) experience, there is another side to this, and one that we should be honest about.

First, I doubt very much that the CAF is "full" of people from seriously broken, pathologically abusive homes. Often those people grow up into adults who are of little use to society in general, never mind a structured, demanding organization like the military. If you don't believe me, ask anybody who works with Federal inmates and is familiar with their backgrounds. Not a lot of "Brady Bunch" families on that list, and not a lot of inmates who will ever amount to much-- "rehabilitation" to the contrary.

Second, I think the military does have some people in it who come from dysfunctional families, and some of that probably includes some abuse. By abuse, I don't mean spanking. I spanked our kids, and was spanked myself. I mean things much worse than spanking (which is not illegal in Canada anyway). If you spend much time as an Adjutant of an Army field unit, or as a Chaplain, you will probably see that "family of origin" problems are something that some soldiers struggle with. Some don't handle it very well, and it comes out in bad, or sometimes criminal, behaviour. Nothing new there.

But, I think the point is this: that the huge majority of our soldiers who may face these sorts of problems find that the Army is an environment that helps them. It provides structure, clear goals, leadership (or, at least, a lot better leadership than they will ever find in civvy street) and a pretty clear and fair punishment system. It also provides friends, shared challenges and positive experiences, and a sense of belonging.

These are all things which are to be proud of, and are immensely helpful to people struggling with their past. Again, there is nothing new here: the Army has long been recognized as a place where people can make something of themselves.

I know that some people will scorn this as "Army as a social welfare agency". Fine. But I think it is true, whether we like it or not.
 

daftandbarmy

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pbi said:
In my (admitttedly stale-dated..) experience, there is another side to this, and one that we should be honest about.

First, I doubt very much that the CAF is "full" of people from seriously broken, pathologically abusive homes. Often those people grow up into adults who are of little use to society in general, never mind a structured, demanding organization like the military. If you don't believe me, ask anybody who works with Federal inmates and is familiar with their backgrounds. Not a lot of "Brady Bunch" families on that list, and not a lot of inmates who will ever amount to much-- "rehabilitation" to the contrary.

Second, I think the military does have some people in it who come from dysfunctional families, and some of that probably includes some abuse. By abuse, I don't mean spanking. I spanked our kids, and was spanked myself. I mean things much worse than spanking (which is not illegal in Canada anyway). If you spend much time as an Adjutant of an Army field unit, or as a Chaplain, you will probably see that "family of origin" problems are something that some soldiers struggle with. Some don't handle it very well, and it comes out in bad, or sometimes criminal, behaviour. Nothing new there.

But, I think the point is this: that the huge majority of our soldiers who may face these sorts of problems find that the Army is an environment that helps them. It provides structure, clear goals, leadership (or, at least, a lot better leadership than they will ever find in civvy street) and a pretty clear and fair punishment system. It also provides friends, shared challenges and positive experiences, and a sense of belonging.

These are all things which are to be proud of, and are immensely helpful to people struggling with their past. Again, there is nothing new here: the Army has long been recognized as a place where people can make something of themselves.

I know that some people will scorn this as "Army as a social welfare agency". Fine. But I think it is true, whether we like it or not.

My regiment in the British Army had a large number of people, Officers as well as ORs, who came from really lousy backgrounds. Think of 'Oliver Twist', but much, much worse.

I happily rusted them with my life, in a number of different ways on operations and elsewhere, for years.

Would I extend the same level of trust to a random assortment of civilians selected from the population?

No... friggin... way....
 
J

jollyjacktar

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This will raise some hackles, I am sure.  shared under the fair dealings provisions of the copyright act.

New
Half of Canadian soldiers were abused as children, study indicates

Incidence much higher in military than general population, Canadian-led research indicates

By Kas Roussy, CBC NewsPosted: Jan 27, 2016 11:04 AM ET|Last Updated: Jan 27, 2016 12:27 PM ET

About half of Canada's soldiers have a history of child abuse, which is significantly higher than the general population, indicates a new study led by a Manitoba researcher.

"We thought it was really an important finding...," says Tracie Afifi, associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Manitoba and lead author of the research released Wednesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry.

The incidence of adults who were abused as children is 31 per cent in the general population, according to the study, which also involved the Canadian Forces Health Services Group Headquarters in Ottawa and the University of Ottawa.

The research backs up similar findings in the U.S. which showed a higher prevalence of childhood abuse (of various forms) among the military compared to civilians.

"What we know about people coming out of dysfunctional families is they often gravitate towards environments where there is structure and safety," says Dr. Greg Passey, a Vancouver psychiatrist who served 22 years in the Canadian military. He was not involved in the study. 

Part of his deployment was in Rwanda in 1994, where he was part of a mental health team, assessing stress in Canadian troops.

"What we know about the Canadian military environment, it is like a very large family. There's very clear boundaries and rules," said Passey. "Overall it makes sense that individuals with childhood sexual abuse or just abuse in general would gravitate towards the military."

But for the first time, researchers also compared the association between childhood abuse and suicidal tendencies among the Canadian Armed Forces and Canadians in general.

And, perhaps surprisingly, they found that the link between childhood abuse and suicide was in fact weaker for military personnel compared to the Canadian general population.

"It tells us perhaps there might be something going on that is protective by being in the military," said Afifi. "That could be related to selection process where the military may be selecting more resilient individuals."

Passey agreed. 

"In the military, we are taught to cope with very stressful situations," he said. "Our military members, despite a history of childhood abuse, would be better at coping with stressful situations and therefore less likely to have suicidal ideations versus the general population."

An accompanying editorial in JAMA Psychiatry says the findings are important for how scientists and health care professionals "tackle the issue of understanding health outcomes, including suicide risk, among individuals who have bravely served their countries."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/child-abuse-military-1.3421708
 

PuckChaser

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When will they wake up and start screening for mental health on recruitment? If you want to lower the statistics, don't expose people who are already dealing with issues into a foreign and high stress new world of military service.
 

George Wallace

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I found the results of study showed that military service was a positive affect on members who suffered abuse as children. 

Perhaps it makes a point to bring in compulsory service (not necessarily military) to the nation as a form of "preventative medicine".  :dunno:

>:D
 

Fluff

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I'd be interested to see if this also agrees with the current scientific research showing that childhood abuse can be a predictor of later PTSD development after deployment. (Research study by Dorthe Berntsen of Aarhus University in Denmark)
 

George Wallace

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Fluff said:
I'd be interested to see if this also agrees with the current scientific research showing that childhood abuse can be a predictor of later PTSD development after deployment. (Research study by Dorthe Berntsen of Aarhus University in Denmark)

I had an impression that the last few paragraphs of that article were alluding to that. 
 

Kilo_302

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George Wallace said:
I found the results of study showed that military service was a positive affect on members who suffered abuse as children. 

Perhaps it makes a point to bring in compulsory service (not necessarily military) to the nation as a form of "preventative medicine".  :dunno:

>:D

I actually think national service of some form or another is a great idea. There should be a non-military option for those who choose it, but meeting Canadians from different walks of life, serving your country and overcoming challenges could only have a positive effect on young adults. Most kids these days identify as a consumer first and foremost, rather than as a citizen of a democracy.
 

Colin Parkinson

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What i see is that the Military is a "safe space" for those abused in a "unsafe civil society"

"What we know about people coming out of dysfunctional families is they often gravitate towards environments where there is structure and safety," says Dr. Greg Passey, a Vancouver psychiatrist who served 22 years in the Canadian military. He was not involved in the study. 

Part of his deployment was in Rwanda in 1994, where he was part of a mental health team, assessing stress in Canadian troops.

"What we know about the Canadian military environment, it is like a very large family. There's very clear boundaries and rules," said Passey. "Overall it makes sense that individuals with childhood sexual abuse or just abuse in general would gravitate towards the military."
 

George Wallace

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Kilo_302 said:
I actually think national service of some form or another is a great idea. There should be a non-military option for those who choose it, but meeting Canadians from different walks of life, serving your country and overcoming challenges could only have a positive effect on young adults. Most kids these days identify as a consumer first and foremost, rather than as a citizen of a democracy.

The German version of National Service was broken down to accommodate the various segments of their population.  The majority of course went into the military, but there was the option to join the Polizei as well.  For those who were "Conscientious Objectors", such as Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, the option was to serve their time in other Emergency Services or hospitals.  With "the Wall" coming down, this was greatly scaled back and is now basically 'history'. 
 
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