Running head: Coping with Stress
Coping with Stress:
The Factors Involved When
Families are Overcoming
Stress Induced by War Casualties
University of Rochester
Vanessa Crans & Lana Ritterman-McAndrew
This project will take an issue that is very prominent in today's society and attempt to look, in detail, how families of military war casualties are coping with the death of their loved ones and which coping strategies seem to be most influential in helping them get back to leading a life that closely resembles what they had before loss. This topic of military coping is important, especially in this time, because there have been so many casualties due to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan (see Appendix A) By looking at these conflicts, but also those such as the Vietnam War and the Gulf War, we would essentially hope to find common themes or strategies that make coping just a little bit easier for those who are left on the home front. This topic is important to investigate because of the amount of people affected each day by military death- the total deaths are in the thousands and rising every moment. War is a phenomenon that is not going to be disappearing anytime soon, and if there is a way to help those being influenced by tragedy in a more efficient and effectual way, the benefits are immense. The audience for this study is most likely going to be students, but there is also the potential for the military to take an interest in order to help the families of the victims. Mental health counselors, community counselors and psychiatrists may find the information from the study helpful because of the implications it will have on how people deal with death and how it may be possible to engage those dealing with death in better coping strategies.
Much of what has been studied in the realm of coping and stress management has been done with the focus on the individual and how people deal with stress in general. This begs the question "what is stress?". Stress is most commonly defined as a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension, and for the sake of this study that is the way it would be defined. Many researchers still feel that the term stress is highly ambiguous because there can be so many different levels. Stress can be caused by an event such as abuse, a natural disaster, an attack, a life threatening ordeal, or even just a dramatic unexpected change in lifestyle. Most of these topics have been studied, and through looking at this previous research, it is seen how very few researchers focus on how people cope with the stress of losing a loved one to an event such as war. Perhaps documentation of how people have coped with death throughout history is rare, or perhaps there has just not been a lot of studies done on the topic. When searching keywords such as "coping", "death", and "military" into a psychological search engine, only seven results were retrieved, and of those seven, there were only two or three that seemed they would benefit this research positively. These few articles that that were found that generally focused on post-traumatic- stress disorder, or PSTD. They studied (both quantitatively and qualitatively) how families felt they were influenced by the war, whether it by deployment, responsibility at home, the unknown, and of course, death. It was found that it is indeed important to look at everyone involved and try to work together to get through the trauma of war. The researches should not forget parent-child relations and should not forget that it takes time and understanding of an individual to help cope with the loss (Dekel et al., 2010, page). The other article that was looked at did not focus so much on a study, but the history of coping with loss during both war and peace times. It covered a broad range of time and explained how the military had continually developed counseling and groups to help those who were affected by the...
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