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The Haze of War

soldiers-kicking-yahoo.jpgStudy finds bullying and hazing in military is associated with subsequent mental health disorders. Yahoo! News

In multiple studies, workplace bullying has been associated with mental disorders and suicidality in civilians. In a new study, published January 24, 2023 in JAMA Network Open, researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine and the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science, looked at the potential consequences of bullying among military personnel.

Led by first author Laura Campbell-Sills, PhD, a project scientist in the Department of Psychiatry, and senior author Murray B. Stein, MD, MPH, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Public Health, and Vice Chair for Clinical Research in Psychiatry at UC San Diego, the authors assessed data from 1,463 combat-deployed participants in the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers.

As in civilian society, they found reports of being bullied or hazed during deployment to be significantly associated with major depressive disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts and substance abuse disorder.

“Unlike combat exposure, bullying or hazing is an avoidable event that appears to affect a substantial proportion of deployed soldiers (approximately 1 in 8 in this sample),” wrote the authors.

“Continued vigilance and implementation of prevention strategies is warranted and may help reduce incidence of mental health problems among soldiers. Furthermore, fostering awareness and effective responses among unit leaders is important when bullying or hazing occurs, given evidence that support from leadership may buffer some effects of peer abuse.”

Scott LaFee