Multiple Experiences of Combat Trauma
Among the most salient hazards of military service is the risk of being deployed to a war zone. Service members deployed in a war zone endure protracted separation from home, extremely stressful environments, and potentially, multiple exposures to a host of combat traumas, which can have lasting negative effects on psychological, psychosocial, and physical functioning. In this chapter, we explore a variety of factors that put individuals at risk of experiencing one or more combat traumas and the resultant psychological sequelae. Features of war-zone deployments that increase risk of exposure to combat trauma-and, consequently, retraumatization-are reviewed. We also offer possible explanations for the relationship between combat trauma and retraumatization. The long-term psychological adjustment dif¢culties that can result from experiencing multiple combat traumas as well as effective assessment tools, treatments, and possible prevention techniques for these dif¢culties are summarized. Finally, several special topics are presented, such as the increasing role of women in combat and the effects of combat trauma exposure on nonmilitary professionals working in war zones.