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Stress R educiLon ; 5 Major causes of stress are the harsh physical circumstances of warfare that affect tissue needs, such as conditions of deprivation (food, sleep, or oxygen), extreme stimulation (temperature and noise), disease-engendering conditions, ant trauma-intucing wounds. But it is the threatening psychological ambiance of combat that is so pervasive. Every soldier must cope with the fear of teeth. Fear has been fount to be greatest before going into action ant to be reported by 7 of 10 men (Dollars ~ Horton, 1944; Stouffer, Lumstaine, Lumsdaine, Williams, Smith, Janis, Star, & Cottrell, 1949). In the Vietnam War, the clandestine nature of the fighting exacerbated the psychological strain, as American troops developed "a sense of helplessness at not being able to confront the enemy in set piece battles. The spectra of being shot at and having friends killed ant maimed by virtually unseen forces generated considerable rage which came to be displaced on anyone or anything available" (DeFazio, 1978, p. 30). The psychological ambiance of combat associated with the Vietnam War hat a particularly negative effect on veterans, who in large numbers manifested "delayed stress responses" (Horowitz & Solomon, 197S). MILITARY SOCIALIZATION AND THE ETHOS OF TRAINING Despite variations across branches of the armed services, military recruit training has a relatively homogeneous process. Basic training is a period of rapid resocialization ant enculturation, occurring under conditions of relative isolation ant confinement (Novaco et al., 1983). Ranging from seven to eleven weeks across service branches, young men are expected to develop new behavior confined to a narrow range of acceptability as shapes by heavy doses of reward ant punishment. In a certain sense, boot camp can be thought to habituate recruits to the unpredictable stresses likely to be encountered in combat. According to Gabriel (1986), Soviet military training
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S=e" Reduction explicitly attempts to achieve the approximation. Whatever the nation state, the goals of basic training are discipline, motivation, physical conditioning, and weapon skills. The latter two are more readily achieved than the former. Conditions of war are unpleasant and preparing soldiers for war inevitably involves a degree of nastiness. In the United States, we so fortunately lack the totalitarian ideologies (whether it be Soviet or Khomeni- guided Shiite fundamentalism) and are also fortunate to live in a land relatively insulated from attack. Therefore, the idea of boot camp as an analog to combat strikes discordant notes. It is often difficult for social scientists having little military exposure anything other than negative and dehumanizing. that the sole purpose of training is to break to view recruit training as At first glance, it may appear the person psychologically, to render them helpless in the face of the system's desires, and to instill a reflexive conformity to the warrior ethic. At times, harsh criticism has come from combat veterans (e.g., Eisenhart, 1975) and others experienced in the military (Dyer, 1985). Various authors taking an adversarial stance have discussed recruit training in ways that dwell on themes of the warrior ethic and masculinity. For example, Arkin and Dobrofsky (1978) look at military socialization as a manufacturing of the "traditional masculine blueprint" that aims to reinforce fundamental archetypes about male sex roles. Their article, published in a highly visible academic publication, selectively focuses on unflattering elements of basic training constructed from limited behavior samples and overplays sexuality (phallic) themes. Very similar points had been made by Eisenhart (1975), a Marine Little Girl" portrayal conflictual. He contrasts Corps Vietnam veteran, in his you Can't Hack It, of basic training as brutal and emotionally the intensely instilled masculinity of boot camp
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S=e" Reduction 18 with the war conditions that denied its expression. Vietnam combat was often passive, had no honorable encounters, and had no wartier grandeur. While he recounts some of his own basic training experiences, which were graphically harsh, he provides no evidence of the generalizability of these experiences. The portrayal of basic training as a dehumanizing, social control process aimed at shaping the warrior ethic and punctuated by themes of male sexuality, is taken a step further by Dyer (1985). He sees basic training as nearly homogeneous across nations and as being a process that gets young men to believe that they like combat. Dyer's analysis, although cynical and occasionally slanted, is nonetheless insightful about the instilling of motivation and primary group loyalty. "The DIs 'stress' the recruits, feed them their daily ration of synthetic triumphs over apparent obstacles, and bear in mind all the time that the goal is to instill the foundations for the instinctive, selfless reactions and the fierce group loyalty that is what recruits will need if they ever see combat. They are arch- manipulators, fully conscious of it, and utterly unashamed. These kids have signed up as Marines, and they could well see combat; this is the way they have to think if they want to live." (p. 115). Dyer writes with a flair and, despite the cynical edge throughout, there is a probing quality to his presentation. He does, however, give a distorted view of drill instructor competence, getting too locked into his portrait of them as harsh manipulators grinding out masculine warrior themes. Marine Corps commanders at the battalion, regimental, depot, or Headquarters level do not endorse the archetypal "DI" personification, nor do the NCO supervisors of drill instructors, nor is such an image cast in Drill Instructor School. In extensive research that I have conducted with Irwin
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Stress Reduction '9 Sarason, we have consistently found organizational policy to be at variance with the image of a drill instructor as a harsh, punitive, individual without empathy for recruits. The Drill Instructor Schools at San Diego and Parris Island emphasize positive leadership approaches and the concept of being firm but fair. Moreover, our evaluation data in drill instructor performance show that the angry, impatient, highly activated drill instructor performs poorly and receives low ratings from NCO and officer supervisors. A sanguine view of military socialization can also be fount in the longitudinal research of Elder (1986). Tracking a cohort of Berkeley men born in 1928-1929 who entered military service in the 1940s and 1950s. Elder found that military service was a constructive turning point in the lives of most men. Particularly for the disadvantaged person with perceived self- inadequacy, the service brought opportunity and new directions. Those who entered the service young, despite a background that favored low achievement and disorganization in marriage and family,instead were found to have the highest levels of family stability and have dramatic gains in health and competence. Elde.r's extensive findings that veterans of World War II and Korea had more stable marriages than did non-veterans certainly is at odds with the characterization of military socialization as a dehumanizing, manipulative, and coercive process that breeds maladjustment. Boot camp necessarily involves a transition from civilian to military culture. "The process is fundamentally one of acculturation in which the recruit is subjected to a forced change of reference groups, and the skills he learns are basically those necessary for survival and successful adaptation under these circumstances" (Bourne, 1967, p. 187~.
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Stress Reduction 20 "Training is seen as the intentional disruption of civilian patterns of adjustment, replacement of individual gratifications with group goals, inculcation of unquestioning acceptance of authority and development of conformity to official attitudes and conduct" (Yarmolinsky, 1975, p. 158~. These authors, along with Arkin and Dobrofsky (1978) and Dyer (1980), represent basic training as a conversion process that promotes socialization to military norms. Stress has an integral function in this process, but the exposure to this environmental context results in the acquisition of stress coping skills. As one develops commensurate resources for coping, environmental demands that once functioned as stressors can then be appraised as "challenges" that can be handled effectively. In the face of "humanist" criticisms about the nature of basic training, researchers and other social scholars must bear in mind that military institutions indeed have intrinsic defense functions and that training involves preparation for combat with the objective being the destruction of the enemy. Military organizations must therefore utilize methods and techniques of training which provide a realistic test of stress tolerance. "It is more prudent and ultimately more humane, to provide this screening and learning under conditions in which the probability of death due to error is very low than it would be to send ill-prepared troops into combat. This assumption underlies both the process and content of training ant is one often overlooked in discussion of the efficacy of methods used by the military" (Novaco, et al., 1983, p. 392). DETERMINANTS AND MEDIATORS OF STRESS IN MILITARY SETTINGS Those who function in military settings are at high risk for exposure to involved in stressors . Military obj ectives and the nature of the tasks
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