The combined influence of hardiness and cohesion on mental health in a military peacekeeping mission: A prospective study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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A large number of studies have shown that hardiness and cohesion are associated with mental health in a military context. However, most of them are presented without controlling for baseline mental health symptoms, which is their most significant source of error. The present study investigates the combined effect of hardiness and cohesion in a prospective design, controlling for baseline levels of symptoms among Norwegian personnel serving in a peacekeeping operation in Kosovo. Multivariate regression analyses were performed in which self-reported mental health complaints were regressed on our explanatory variables. Our findings suggest that both cohesion and hardiness contributed to increased stress resiliency, as measured by a lower level of reported mental health complaints. Our baseline measure of mental health accounted for a larger proportion of the variance than our other predictors. A significant interaction between cohesion and hardiness suggested a combined effect, over and above the individual contributions of the predictors. For individuals who scored high on hardiness, cohesion levels did not influence levels of mental health complaints. Individuals who scored low on hardiness, on the other hand, reported lower levels of mental health complaints when cohesion levels were high.