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BMJ Open ; 14(2): e076625, 2024 02 08.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38331861


OBJECTIVES: The literature presents complex inter-relationships among individual-factors and organisational-factors and barriers to seeking mental health support after deployment. This study aims to quantify longitudinal associations between such factors and barriers to mental health support. DESIGN: A longitudinal online survey of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel collected data at 3 months post-deployment (T1), 6 months post-deployment (T2) and 1 year post-deployment (T3). SETTING: In 2020, as part of Canada's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2595 CAF personnel deployed on Operation LASER to support civilian long-term care facilities in Québec and Ontario. PARTICIPANTS: All Operation LASER personnel were invited to participate: 1088, 582 and 497 responded at T1, T2 and T3, respectively. Most respondents were young, male, non-commissioned members. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Barriers to mental health support were measured using 25 self-reported items and grouped into theory-based factors, including eight factors exploring care-seeking capabilities, opportunities and motivations; and two factors exploring moral issues. Logistic regressions estimated the crude and adjusted associations of individual and organisational characteristics (T1) with barriers (T2 and T3). RESULTS: When adjusting for sex, military rank and mental health status, increased meaningfulness of deployment was associated with lower probability of endorsing barriers related to conflicts with career goals and moral discomfort in accessing support at T2. Higher scores in trust in leadership were associated with lower probability of endorsing four barriers at T2, and five barriers at T3. CONCLUSIONS: We identified several modifiable organisational-level characteristics that may help reduce perceived barriers to mental health support in military and other high-risk occupational populations. Results suggest that promoting individuals' sense of purpose, instilling trust in leadership and promoting relatedness among team members may improve perceptions of access to mental health supports in the months following a domestic deployment or comparable occupational exposure.

Trastornos Mentales , Servicios de Salud Mental , Personal Militar , Humanos , Masculino , Personal Militar/psicología , Trastornos Mentales/epidemiología , Estudios Longitudinales , Liderazgo , Pandemias , Confianza , Ontario
Mil Psychol ; : 1-10, 2024 Feb 22.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38386695


Transformational leadership is embedded in the value system of the Canadian military ethos. Research suggests that transformational leadership can be viewed as a form of empowering leadership facilitating empowered psychological states among their followers, which in turn, enhances their performance, wellbeing, and engagement. The current study examined the associations between transformational leadership and Canadian Armed Forces members' psychological distress, morale, and pre-deployment readiness and the mediating role of psychological empowerment in these relationships. A path analysis model of the data collected through a pre-deployment survey completed by Canadian Armed Force (CAF) members (N = 2,391) revealed that transformational leadership was associated with lower psychological distress and greater morale and these relationships were partly explained by increased feelings of empowerment, namely higher levels of autonomy, competence, and meaning. Furthermore, transformational leadership was also associated with higher perceptions of pre-deployment readiness, and this was partly explained by increased feelings of meaning and competence. The results of this research suggest that transformational leadership is an effective strategy to bolster psychological resources and readiness in the CAF.

JMIR Res Protoc ; 12: e44299, 2023 Nov 06.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37676877


BACKGROUND: The earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada were marked by a significant surge in COVID-19 cases and COVID-19-related deaths among residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs). As part of Canada's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel were mobilized for an initial emergency domestic deployment to the hardest-hit LTCFs (Operation LASER LTCF) to support the remaining civilian staff in ensuring the continued delivery of care to residents. Akin to what was observed following past CAF international humanitarian missions, there was an expected increased risk of exposure to multiple stressors that may be psychologically traumatic and potentially morally injurious in nature (ie, related to core values, eg, witnessing human suffering). Emerging data from health care workers exposed to the unprecedented medical challenges and dilemmas of the early pandemic stages also indicated that such experiences were associated with increased risk of adverse mental health outcomes. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to identify and quantify the individual-, group-, and organizational-level risk and resilience factors associated with moral distress, moral injury, and traditional mental health and well-being outcomes of Operation LASER LTCF CAF personnel. This paper aimed to document the methodology, implementation procedures, and participation metrics. METHODS: A multimethod research initiative was conducted consisting of 2 primary data collection studies (a quantitative survey and qualitative interviews). The quantitative arm was a complete enumeration survey with web-based, self-report questionnaires administered at 3 time points (3, 6, and 12 mo after deployment). The qualitative arm consisted of individual, web-based interviews with a focus on understanding the nuanced lived experiences of individuals participating in the Operation LASER LTCF deployment. RESULTS: CAF personnel deployed to Operation LASER LTCF (N=2595) were invited to participate in the study. Data collection is now complete. Overall, of the 2595 deployed personnel, 1088 (41.93%), 582 (22.43%), and 497 (19.15%) responded to the survey at time point 1 (3 mo), time point 2 (6 mo), and time point 3 (12 mo) after deployment, respectively. The target sample size for the qualitative interviews was set at approximately 50 considering resourcing and data saturation. Interest in participating in qualitative interviews surpassed expectations, with >200 individuals expressing interest; this allowed for purposive sampling across key characteristics, including gender, rank, Operation LASER LTCF role, and province. In total, 53 interviews were conducted. CONCLUSIONS: The data generated through this research have the potential to inform and promote better understanding of the well-being and mental health of Operation LASER LTCF personnel over time; identify general and Operation LASER LTCF-specific risk and protective factors; provide necessary support to the military personnel who served in this mission; and inform preparation and interventions for future missions, especially those more domestic and humanitarian in nature. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/44299.

Health Promot Chronic Dis Prev Can ; 42(3): 100-103, 2022 Mar.
Artículo en Inglés, Francés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35262311


The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) deployed 2595 regular and reserve force personnel on Operation (Op) LASER, the CAF's mission to provide support to civilian staff at longterm care facilities in Ontario and in the Centres d'hébergement de soins de longue durée in Quebec. An online longitudinal survey and in-depth virtual discussions were conducted by a multidisciplinary team of researchers with complementary expertise. This paper highlights the challenges encountered in conducting this research and their impact on the design and implementation of the study, and provides lessons learned that may be useful to researchers responding to similar public health crises in the future.

There are a number of challenges involved in conducting longitudinal research in an applied military setting during a global public health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. These challenges include but are not limited to a sudden transition to a distributed remote work environment, tight timelines, the need to obtain approvals from different agencies and departments, having to prioritize multiple study objectives, and survey fatigue. To overcome these challenges in future public health crises, it is important to (1) develop and maintain collaborative networks across government, academia and industry; (2) develop a standard set of pre-deployment demographic and health indicators to establish a baseline; and (3) use mixed methods approaches for a richer understanding of mental health trajectories following stressful events.

La réalisation d'une enquête longitudinale dans un contexte militaire concret pendant une crise mondiale de santé publique, comme la pandémie de COVID-19, vient avec son lot de défis. Parmi ces défis, on peut relever une transition subite vers un environnement de travail à distance, des délais serrés, la nécessité d'obtenir des approbations de différents organismes et ministères, la nécessité de prioriser plusieurs objectifs d'étude et la lassitude à l'égard des enquêtes. Pour relever ces défis au cours des futures crises de santé publique, il sera essentiel : 1) de créer et d'entretenir des réseaux de collaboration qui relieront le gouvernement, le milieu universitaire et les divers secteurs d'activité, 2) de créer un ensemble normalisé d'indicateurs démographiques et sanitaires avant le déploiement, en vue de l'obtention de données de référence et 3) de recourir à des méthodes mixtes pour mieux comprendre les trajectoires en matière de santé mentale à la suite d'événements stressants.

COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiología , Humanos , Rayos Láser , Ontario/epidemiología , Pandemias , SARS-CoV-2
Mil Psychol ; 33(4): 250-263, 2021.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38536291


Military personnel experience stressors during deployment that could take a toll on their psychological well-being and on the organization's function. One common approach to better understanding the impact of such stressors is measuring events using psychological scales. The current research examined items measuring potentially morally injurious experiences in post-deployment assessments of personnel involved in the Afghanistan mission using the United States Mental Health Advisory Team - Combat Experiences Scale (MHAT-CES). Study 1 found that the scale produced five components. Three components showed consistency with past studies that examined the structure of other versions of the CES (i.e., dangerous environments, exposure to dead and injured and active combat). A fourth component that we labeled life threats included items that were typically divided between the aforementioned components. Finally, a stable and reliable fifth component included items related to potentially morally injurious experiences. Study 2 replicated this structure and showed that increased perceptions of potentially morally injurious experiences during deployment were associated with higher levels of psychological distress, which in turn promoted stronger turnover intentions, even after controlling for the effects of the other combat stressor components on these variables. We discuss the implications of potentially morally injurious experiences in relation to individual psychological distress and organizational retention.

Brain Cogn ; 71(1): 1-8, 2009 Oct.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-19428166


Cumulative exposure to glucocorticoid hormones (GC) over the lifespan has been associated with cognitive impairment and may contribute to physical and cognitive degeneration in aging. The objective of the present study was to examine whether the pattern of cognitive deficits in patients with Cushing's syndrome (CS), a disorder characterized by chronic exposure to elevated levels of glucocorticoids (GC), is similar to that observed in older individuals. Ten subjects with CS were compared to sex-, age-, and education-matched healthy controls and older subjects (age of CS subjects+15 yr). All participants were administered tests to assess attention, visuospatial processing, learning and memory, reasoning, concept formation and verbal fluency. MANCOVAs with depression scores as covariate and polynomial contrasts revealed that the age-matched control group performed better than the CS and older subject groups in visual target detection, trail making test, stroop task, digit symbol substitution, block design, object assembly, visual reproduction, spatial memory and similarities. The CS and older subjects performed similarly on these tasks. Further, a principal component analysis revealed two significant factors, representing general cognitive function and verbal memory explaining 39.9% and 10.0% of the variance, respectively. Additional MANCOVAs with depression as a covariate revealed that CS and older control subjects showed impaired performance on general cognitive function compared to age-matched controls. These results suggest that hypersecretion of GCs has "aging-like" effects on cognitive performance in individuals with CS.

Envejecimiento , Trastornos del Conocimiento/etiología , Cognición/fisiología , Síndrome de Cushing/complicaciones , Síndrome de Cushing/psicología , Glucocorticoides/metabolismo , Adulto , Anciano , Atención/fisiología , Síndrome de Cushing/fisiopatología , Depresión/complicaciones , Femenino , Humanos , Masculino , Memoria/fisiología , Persona de Mediana Edad , Análisis Multivariante , Pruebas Neuropsicológicas , Análisis de Componente Principal , Percepción Espacial/fisiología , Percepción Visual/fisiología
Stress ; 11(3): 177-97, 2008 May.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-18465466


Increased hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activation, culminating in elevated circulating cortisol levels is a fundamental response to stressors. In animals, this neuroendocrine change is highly reliable and marked (approximately 5-10-fold elevations), whereas in humans, the increase of cortisol release is less pronounced, and even some potent life-threatening events (anticipation of surgery) only elicit modest cortisol increases. Meta-analysis of factors that influenced the increase of cortisol release in a laboratory context pointed to the importance of social evaluative threats and stressor controllability in accounting for the cortisol rise. The present meta-analysis, covering the period from 1978 through March 2007, was undertaken to identify the factors most closely aligned with cortisol increases in natural settings. It appeared that stressor chronicity was fundamental in predicting cortisol changes; however, this variable is often confounded by the stressor type, the stressor's controllability, as well as contextual factors, making it difficult to disentangle their relative contributions to the cortisol response. Moreover, several experiential factors (e.g. previous stressor experiences) may influence the cortisol response to ongoing stressors, but these are not readily deduced through a meta-analysis. Nevertheless, there are ample data suggesting that stressful events, through their actions on cortisol levels and reactivity, may influence psychological and physical pathology.

Hidrocortisona/metabolismo , Estrés Fisiológico/fisiopatología , Adulto , Ritmo Circadiano , Odontología , Femenino , Glucocorticoides/fisiología , Humanos , Hidrocortisona/sangre , Hidrocortisona/orina , Sistema Hipotálamo-Hipofisario/fisiopatología , Masculino , Exposición Profesional , Sistema Hipófiso-Suprarrenal/fisiopatología , Saliva/química , Deportes , Estrés Psicológico/fisiopatología , Procedimientos Quirúrgicos Operativos