Stress and Injuries in Army Reservists


Name: Jacqueline Agnew


Organization: The Johns Hopkins University

Performance Site: Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD

Year Published: 1997

Abstract Status: Final


Selected Reservists must balance roles related to military duties, civilian job, and family while maintaining health and other readiness standards. Previous studies have explored the association between job stressors and well-being using occupational stress models. The current research was undertaken to better define the stressors and resources encountered by reservists, a group unique from both their civilian and active duty counterparts. Two forms of qualitative methodology were used to 1) identify sources of stress according to an occupational stress framework and 2) obtain preliminary data on the frequency and intensity of these stressors. Twelve key informant interviews explored stressors and pilot tested questions for focus groups. Focus groups, structured by gender and rank, were held to expand the data base of stressor items. In addition, focus group participants completed a questionnaire that measured frequency and intensity of items on a preliminary list of stressors. Analysis of qualitative data from focus groups demonstrated that demands related to time and schedule conflicts were important stressors for this group. Other stressors that were frequently mentioned included: fatigue and exhaustion; childcare issues; pay differences between civilian and reserve positions; and promotion barriers. Potential stressors raised during focus groups that had been unanticipated included: discrimination in the civilian job setting, especially during the hiring process; animosity between active and reserve components of the military; and a lack of adequate unit administrative support. The focus groups also helped to highlight the resources available to reservists including: social support from reserve colleagues, civilian colleagues, and family members; financial benefits; training; and pride in serving. Analysis of the preliminary list of stressors administered to 49 focus group participants identified 11 subscales within the Demand, Control, Resources, Support framework. The psychometric properties of these scales were fairly strong. Significant differences were noted for the mean scores between officers and enlisted personnel for the stressors in the Control domain subscales. This report details the first phase of a study engaged in the development of a reserve-specific stress measure that will further research on stress and health outcomes in military reservists.


Final Report is availble on NTRL: