A Prospective Study of Stress in Army Reservists


Name: Jacqueline Agnew


Organization: Johns Hopkins University

Performance Site: Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene & Public Health, Baltimore, MD; 99th Regional Support Command in 5 states

Year Published: 2000

Abstract Status: Initial


Operational readiness of the U.S. military depends on high levels of health and mission-oriented training of all members, including those of the reserve components. Army Reserve nurses play a major role in maintaining and restoring the health of service members and thus have opportunities to impact on readiness. A concern regarding the health of Reservists is the potential for stress-related illness or injuries related to their requirement to meet the demands of civilian and military jobs as well as family obligations. This study will build on work that has been supported by the TriService Nursing Research Program and will be conducted as part of a research program that concentrates on the issue of stress and Army Reservists. It is prospective in design and will employ a recently developed reserve-specific stress inventory to characterize the demands and resources encountered in the work environments of Reservists. The conceptual framework for the study is based on occupational stress models that describe how strain is likely to occur when stressors related to job demands and home responsibilities overcome resources related to job characteristics and other sources of support. Study participants will be 180 members of the selected reserves, a group whose health status has received very little study. They will be randomly selected from units of Army Reserve units subordinate to the 99th Regional Support Command in Pennsylvania. Data will be collected by telephone interview upon enrollment into the study and at 6 and 12 months. Interview instruments will address the Reserve work environment (using the newly developed instrument), civilian job environment (using a standardized work strain instrument), roles as students and family members, as well as physical and psychological health factors. Outcomes will include injuries and stress-related health experiences. The analysis will describe the incidence of injury and stress-related problems in this cohort over the one year period. Multivariable regression models will identify predictors and modifiers of the outcomes. Results will inform the development of effective interventions to help Reservists function at optimal levels of health for training and readiness.