- Published on Mar 28, 2007
- Contact Diane Swanbrow
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Researchers from the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR) will begin interviewing randomly selected samples of 1,200 U.S. Army women and men stationed in Iraq and other sites around the world.
The goal of the new study is to assess how deployment is affecting the mental, emotional and physical health of male and female soldiers. The study starts in April.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, through the TriService Nursing Research Program, the study will provide the most comprehensive look to date at stress among Army soldiers. It will assess how the impact of wartime deployment may differ among men and women, and how the unique stressors of these operations may affect their willingness to re-enlist.
"About half of our sample will include soldiers deployed in Iraq and other theaters of war," said Penny Pierce, a retired colonel in the Air Force Reserve Program who is also an associate professor in the U-M School of Nursing and a faculty associate at the ISR. Pierce is collaborating on the project with ISR research professor Amiram Vinokur.
"We will be looking at how service location and status—whether active, reserve or members of the guard—are related to the levels of stress individuals experience. We will also be examining how marital and parenthood status affect the experience of stress."
The researchers hope to compare the retention results from this study with a similar study they are now conducting with Air Force men and women, and also compare the findings with results of the 1992 study they conducted. That earlier study, which focused on Gulf War women, showed that women who served in the theater of war were more likely to stay in the military than those who served elsewhere.
"The situation today could be very different," Pierce said. "The Gulf War was a short, relatively popular war that brought about a decisive victory, compared to the conflict today."
Pierce and Vinokur hope that their research will help to find out if there are preventable risks associated with specific military duties, type of deployment, occupational and family stress, or a combination of these factors.
"The results of this work will inform manpower planners, policy-makers and family readiness programs how to shape strategies and resources that will support service members and their families," Pierce said.
Established in 1948, the Institute for Social Research (ISR) is among the world's oldest survey research organizations, and a world leader in the development and application of social science methodology. ISR conducts some of the most widely cited studies in the nation, including the Survey of Consumer Attitudes, the National Election Studies, the Monitoring the Future Study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the Health and Retirement Study, and the National Survey of Black Americans. ISR researchers also collaborate with social scientists in more than 60 nations on the World Values Surveys and other projects, and the institute has established formal ties with universities in Poland, China and South Africa. ISR is also home to the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the world's largest computerized social science data archive. Visit the ISR Web site at www.isr.umich.edu for more information.