Human Conflict Is Ubiquitous Sociology

essay A

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.

Get Access


Human struggle is omnipresent with those soldiers that participate frequently hailed as keeping one of humanistic disciplines oldest professions. Whilst this may non be purely true, what can be unambiguously determined is that warfare has played a important portion in act uponing the class of human history ; instigating social alteration, promoting technological growing and motivating new cultural thoughts. Luce ( 1891 ) poetically suggested, of the benefits of struggle, that ‘war arouses all the latent energies of a people, stimulates them to the highest effort, and develops their mental and material resources ‘ . However, despite any sensed benefits for society, it is the engagement in existent combat that impacts participant ‘s lives the most ; whilst staying one of the least studied countries in struggle.

At the clip of this paper being written there remains an obvious and evident deficiency of experientially based research of a soldier ‘s clip in combat. This is non to propose that soldier ‘s physical, medical and mental demands are being neglected in modern society ; so there are mountains of articles on the topic of military mental wellness. One possible account of this could be merely resource allotment and the sensed deficiency of necessity for non-trauma based survey ; even in some of the universe ‘s greatest conflicts the soldiers merely make up a little per centum of the persons involved and affected. In fact more lives were lost in World War 1 due to a autumn in birthrate than were of all time killed in combat ( Caldwell, 2004 ) Unfortunately, this frequently leaves soldiers experiences viewed in the visible radiation of historical cliches ; expressed typically in military history books and capable to preponderantly non-psychological reading. However, the prevalence of human force in society, and the forfeits of 1000000s of work forces and adult females who have participated in armed struggle, warrants the attempt of understanding this experience.

Experiencing Combat

Historically, the single experience of combat is frequently described in the sense of personal motives and with ideals non needfully relevant in today ‘s society. This can be seen in Linderman ‘s ( 1989 ) aggregation of American Civil War soldier ‘s letters which highlights the sensed importance of frequently non modern-day thoughts of ‘duty ‘ and ‘honour ‘ . These thoughts, whilst still used today in movie and media, seem to hold lost the significance and motivational qualities they one time inspired with modern twenty-four hours honor much more likely to be linked to perceptual experiences of less unsafe facets such as academic cheating behaviors ( O’Neill & A ; Pfeiffer, 2012 ) . Modern military nevertheless still maintain many old traditions and it is within the military that these apprehensions are still propagated. This can clearly be seen in illustrations of modern twenty-four hours British soldiers mentioning their military motive as a sense of responsibility to ‘Queen and Country ‘ and cursing commitment, despite the inaction of the monarchy in political relations and policy, to the Queen and her inheritors ( British Army, 2011 ) .

A common facet utilised by soldiers in their apprehension of war experiences is their impression of individuality. Identity and struggles have long been associated and historical histories show the soldier ‘s sense of ‘self ‘ and individuality as a ‘man ‘ was frequently linked to their public presentation in conflict ; explicating how they would frequently utilize the footings ‘manliness ‘ and ‘courage ‘ interchangeably ( Linderman, 1989 ) . Whilst the definition of a ‘man ‘ may hold changed since the 1700 ‘s the consequence of group position and self-pride in combat has non. Callahan ( 2006 ) survey of American soldiers in Iraq suggests a direct relationship between group position and self-pride in add-on to individuality ‘within the group ‘ holding a chairing consequence on combat emphasis and anxiousness. Indeed, for those that have participated in war this sense of ego within the group frequently becomes a outstanding, sometimes specifying facet of their individuality: ‘I was nil before the Marines got me and I went to Vietnam. I became nil once more after that ‘ ( Nadelson, p10, 2005 ) . These experiences hold important value to those who attain them and veterans who have survived the ‘test of manhood ‘ frequently become angry with those who either imitate it or lie about their ain experiences. Childhood heroes and film histrions are n’t exempt from this contempt and Nadelson ( 2005, p10 ) recalls one former battlers history of being dragged out of a film, seemingly ‘losing it ‘ whilst watching an unrealistic war film, repeatedly shouting ‘Fuck You John Wayne! ‘

Interestingly, a repeating subject in combat narratives is the manner in which, despite social disgust and adult males continued instruction to contemn war, the soldiers who participate in armed struggle revel in the combat they experience and describe the about pleasance of taking the lives of their enemies. This once more remains a mostly uncontrived country of struggle possibly due to the social force per unit area non to laud war or possibly merely due to its abhorrent premiss for many people. However, anecdotal illustrations can be seen in journalist Evan Wright ‘s ( 2006, p. 24- 27 ) Generation Kill book about his clip embedded with the USMC ‘s First Recon battalion. Wright observed, attached to the unit deployed to Iraq, that at the terminal of squad briefings the Marines would set their custodies together and shout, “ Kill! ” and reported the aroused calls of ‘This is like Christmas! ‘ upon happening out they will be tasked to prosecute the enemy.

A more identifiable facet of a soldiers experience can be seen in the frequently reported sense of chumminess and many first individual histories of conflict property great forfeit and heroic activity to soldier ‘s sense of brotherhood ( Wong et al, 2003 ) . Veterans frequently report the important bonds that develop between those contending together and the long permanent friendly relationships that ensue ( Daddis, 2010 ) . This sense of duty for others, known as unit coherence, has been regarded by both the military and societal scientists as one of the chief factors in combat motive since World War 2 ( Ben-Shalom et Al, 2007 ) . Tekleab et Al ‘s ( 2009 ) survey within the concern sector have since discovered that this squad coherence has been positively linked to sensed public presentation, satisfaction with the squad, and squad viability further foregrounding the necessity and benefits of experiential research in increasing both the well-being and degree of map within the armed forces.

A History of Mental Illness in War

In add-on to the enormous cost in human life warfare has historically been associated with mental upset. Whilst non portion of the common experience of combat, the prevalence of combat related emphasis has ensured this country of survey has accrued the bulk of psychological focal point. Possibly one of the earliest illustrations of combat related emphasis can be seen in the Grecian historian Herodotus ‘ ( published 1836 ) history of the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. in which a soldier who witnessed a ‘gigantic warrior, with a immense face fungus, which shaded all his shield ‘ that ‘slew the adult male at his side ‘ . Herodotus wrote that the informant was all of a sudden stricken with sightlessness that would stay with him for the remainder of his life. However despite this early association of mental upset and combat the issue remained un-researched and untreated for centuries, arguably, taging the beginning of an full history of upset ignorance and misdiagnosis.

European struggles in 1600 ‘s, resulted in a figure of participants, despite non being physically injured, exposing uneven, at the clip, symptoms such as sudden temper alterations, bosom palpitations, self-inflicted hurts and shudders. This aggregation of symptoms became known as nostalgia, a name coined by Dr Johannes Hofer who attributed the status to the soldiers desire to travel place ( in Naqvi, P 10, 2007 ) . This deficiency of understanding continued into the 1900 ‘s where, during the First World War, afflicted soldiers would frequently endure mutism, go baffled and disorientated and frequently incapable of executing simple undertakings like eating. Other symptoms included developing memory loss, walking with a unusual pace and self-generated sightlessness. Shell daze, as it was known, due to the belief that the work forces were really enduring from the daze from being continuously shelled ( Jones et al, 2007 ) , was finally replaced by ‘battle weariness ‘ in World War 2, with symptoms including suicidal and murderous ideas, wakefulness and incubuss. The deficiency of belief in the true psychiatric nature of this unwellness frequently resulted in a figure of work forces deemed cowards and in the delinquency of their responsibility would frequently confront the decease punishment.

The Vietnam War, chiefly between the US, South Vietnam against the North Vietnamese and its communist state Alliess, provided big sums of research into the mental cost and impact of warfare, eventually supplying the much needed discovery in the apprehension of mental wellness and combat. The struggles unprecedented escalation and length along with the development of communications engineering ensured that this was the first major struggle to have intense media coverage, with telecasting images of conflicts in purportedly

secure topographic points and of civilian casualties resulted in intense public ( Biernatzki, 2003 ) . Championed by anti-war sentiment ( Scott, 1993 ) one of the most outstanding developments at the clip was the acknowledgment of typical combat associated symptoms as portion of a mental upset. Originally called Post Vietnam syndrome the latter named Post Traumatic Stress Disorder finally began to be used to depict the mental upset associated with the symptoms incurred by sing any signifier of traumatic and high emphasis state of affairss.

Constructing on post-Vietnam research, survey into modern struggles in Afghanistan and Iraq continues to give informations sing the negative psychological impact of war. Result suggest that in add-on to the likeliness of physical hurts, accumulated warfare experiences can straight impact a soldier ‘s mental well-being. Bryan et Al ‘s ( 2010 ) research into Iraq war veterans suggest that increased exposure to combat additions both post-traumatic emphasis upset symptoms and greater self-destructive capableness. Military personal have besides been found to be at significantly greater hazard of developing depression symptoms, choler jobs, and functional damage as a consequence of deployment to a combat zone ( Wright et al, 2011 ) . Additionally, Maguen et Al ‘s ( 2011 ) survey determined exposure to decease, both in violent death every bit good as sing the decease of fellow soldiers, were all important forecasters of PTSD and subsequent intoxicant abuse.

Challenges to common apprehension of the experience of Combat and PTSD

The credence and acknowledgment of PTSD as a upset was a success for both psychologists and veteran ‘s rights groups likewise and has resulted in extended research and intervention plans. However, psychological sciences predilection on repairing damaged behavioral jobs and idea procedures has ensured a serious deficiency of research into the experience of war from those non diagnosed with a mental upset and whose experiences may non hold had the same deeply negative effects as others. The issue this creates, in the survey and reappraisal of experiential informations, is that mental upset appears to hold become the sensed Southern Cross of the combat experience ; whilst in world, those who engage in armed struggle frequently develop a broad scope of apprehensions of their subjective experiences. A rare illustration can be seen in Desivilya ‘s ( 1998 ) survey of Israeli war veterans reported that the perceived ( negative ) impact of repeating war experiences was non that important and combat had really resulted in positive war bequests. This survey, utilizing self-report questionnaires, suggested that the participant ‘s war experiences ‘elevated the veterans ‘ grasp for life every bit good as their sensed capacity to get by with hardship ‘ . Additionally, veterans reported increased interpersonal sensitiveness, familiarity and trust within their relationships than their pre-war experiences.

Many theories correlate traumatic experiences, and exposure to hazard, as important forecasters to PTSD, particularly when the experience is cumulative ( Bryan et al, 2010 ) . This would look to propose that every soldier who experienced warfare, surely those that deployed multiple times, would finally yield to mental unwellness. Fortunately, this is non the instance with many soldiers frequently describing apparently positive experiences and even desires to return to battle. A possible account can be seen in the survey of utmost athleticss which, differing from normal athleticss due to the more unsafe nature, portion similarities with combat due to the possibility of traumatic hurt or decease. Sterlini and Bryant ( 2002 ) survey on novitiate skydivers measured increased degrees of utmost anxiousness, hyperarousal, and peritraumatic dissociation in novice skydivers but without any emotional hurt. Whilst there are cardinal differences in the experiences between combat and sky diving these symptoms can frequently be seen in war veterans. However PTSD and dissassociative upsets as a consequence of engagement in utmost athleticss, such as skydiving, is virtually unheard of. This deficiency of mental upset suggests something about the nature of how the experience is processed in footings of danger, result and enjoyment amongst other factors.

An account for this behavior can be formed utilizing cognititive assessment theory. Folkman et Al ( 1986 ) suggests that how an single understands and cognitively approaches a state of affairs straight influences adaptional results such as psychological symptoms, depression and psychosomatic unwellness. Additionally, personal perceptual experiences of get bying efficaciousness look to be a factor in mental wellness with Telch et ALSs ( 1989 ) survey into the function of cognitive assessment in panic-related turning away proposing expectancy of terror as the most powerful correlative of agoraphobic turning away. Recently this has been applied in a military context to battle with McCuaig Edge et Al ( 2012 ) bespeaking that cognitive assessment mediated the psychological hurt experienced by Canadian military personnels in combat and that the mental impact of a potentially nerve-racking event is contingent on the assessment of that event.

Another observation, rebuting common constructs of the experience of war, is the looking deficiency of mental unwellness found in elect military personnels, the ranger and specializers within the military, presenting farther inquiries sing differences in both the perceptual experience of mental wellness upset and the frequence within military units. Sundin et Al ( 2010 ) noted that elect Royal Marine Commandos were less likely to expose physical symptoms, be fatigued, had lower tonss on the Post-traumatic Checklist and expressed less general mental wellness jobs than British Army foot. This appears to be omni-cultural with Hanwella & A ; de Silva ‘s ( 2012 ) survey of Sri Lankan Naval Special Forces indicating that, despite greater exposure to injury and decease, members of the ‘SF ‘ had significantly less mental upset in add-on to better physical wellness degrees than regular military mans. The illustration of ‘better preparation ‘ is frequently used to explicate this nevertheless, increased resiliency, measured utilizing a short signifier of the Dispositional Resilience Scale, was successfully used to foretell completion of the U.S Army Special Forces class ; proposing this ‘hardiness ‘ is non explained by and really predates preparation ( Bartone et Al ‘s 2008 ) .

Cultural differences and social attitudes may besides be a possible go-between involved in the development of possible emphasis response. This can be seen in pronounced differences in PTSD prevalence rates between the US and UK military with some studies proposing that combat-related PTSD afflicts between 4 % and 17 % of US Iraq War veterans, but merely 3-6 % of returning UK Iraq War veterans ( Richardson et al, ( 2010 ) . This does n’t propose that British soldiers are unaffected by their experiences nevertheless it does highlight differences in symptoms and responses, with intoxicant maltreatment a common symptom in British soldiers ( Iversen et al, 2009 ) . Whilst this could be linked to differences in diagnostic techniques, a possible account is that these soldiers are reacting to cultural differences and social outlooks of how they should experience, outlooks which change as clip moves on and apparent by the go oning alteration in reported symptoms ( Greenberg et al, 2011 ) . The obvious media and political input into the diagnosing of post-Vietnam syndrome may besides be a factor and Lembcke ( 1998 ) accuses mental wellness professionals of bordering ‘political political orientation within a medical discourse, transporting the constructs of disaffection, subsister guilt, and flashbacks into the PTSD literature from other contexts ‘ in order to foreground modern-day positions of unfair war. Therefore, sing modern struggles in the visible radiation of post-Vietnam experiences and the subsequent PTSD diagnosing, the outlook is that returning soldiers will return holding experienced a traumatic ordeal that causes a host of psychological issues.

This survey ‘s participants are all functioning or antique members of the British Royal Marines, elect ranger trained to run in any terrain around the universe. The British Armed Forces have been involved in Afghanistan and Iraq for over 10 old ages with the Marines being tasked with the invasion of both states and subsequent combat operations. Work force within these commando units often engage hostile insurrectionist forces during their many months, and frequently, old ages within these parts. This has resulted in a coevals of warriors sing arguably the most complex warfare since the Second World War ; contending hostile insurrectionist and international jihadi ‘s whilst trying to brace fledgling democratic authoritiess within two struggle zones. The immense outgo required for the deployment and preparation for elect units, like the Royal Marines, and the clear links of war to mental unwellness has therefore made psychological research an of import subject for both authoritiess and the military units looking to go on runing efficaciously and guarantee keeping. Understanding the manner in which combat is experienced and perceived, along with military personnels understanding of mental wellness upsets, may be indispensable in easing betterments to preparation, handling unwellnesss like PTSD and bettering rehabilitation.

This survey has arisen out of the demand for through empirical observation focussed work on the broader experience of combat. Whilst research is easy being amassed utilizing American participants it focuses chiefly on PTSD whilst at that place remains a deficiency of survey within the UK, specifically affecting elite and Particular Forces, frequently the most deployed work forces within the military. Therefore this survey sets out to research ‘What is a Royal Marine Commandos experience of war? The nature of the intense operations experienced by the Marines inherently holds mental wellness deductions and as such it was considered of import to oppugn the work forces about this issue. Therefore the purposes of the research is to research the Marines experience of combat, how these experiences has affected or influenced them along with there understanding of PTSD and other mental wellness conditions.



This research utilises a within group design using semi structured interviews as the informations aggregation method. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis ( Smith, 2003 ) is the most appropriate analysis for this survey and was used to analyze the transcripts of these interviews. IPA has been specifically developed to research experience and the significance people associate with certain events and has been used in many surveies researching traumatic events and the experience of PTSD which make it a suited methodological analysis for this research.

Interview agenda

Questions were formed after sing old inquiries posed in surveies of traumatic events along with the unpublished pilot survey conducted by the writer. The interview agenda was so developed utilizing Smiths ( 2003 ) recommendations. This resulted in a semi-structured interview format that questioned the Marines on the general subject of deploying to war, their perceptual experiences of the events including their feelings before and after their deployments and the impact to their households. Additionally the inquiries were designed to bring out any significance subscribed to the experience. In add-on the interview questioned the Marines position of PTSD and mental unwellness associated with combat. Example inquiries can be found in Appendix B nevertheless these were merely used as prompts when necessary. This was done in order to make a more relaxed exchange and let ‘themes to originate from the informations without the bottleneck of preconceived thoughts of what factors might be of import ‘ ( Henwood & A ; Pidgeon, 1992 ) .



Participants were recruited utilizing Purposive sampling ( Robson, 1993 ) . This was due to the low frequence of possible participants with the specific experience required for this survey. Participants were recruited utilizing a societal networking site to offer a opportunity for functioning and antique Royal Marines, with experience of combat within either the Iraq of Afghanistan struggles, to take part in the research. A simple petition was sent to members of the Marine community, utilizing contacts known to the writer, on the website eliciting campaigners for the survey along with a petition to send on the message to their co-workers. Interested campaigners replied via the same medium and further inside informations and consent signifiers were exchanged ( Appendix A ) . Information included the purpose of the survey, participant ‘s rights to withdrawal, and confidences of confidentiality along with extra contact inside informations. On reception of informed consent agreements were made sing interview times and location.


Five participants, identified under the anonym Charlie, Mike, Oscar, Romeo and Victor, were interviewed for this survey. This figure was chosen as extra topics could ensue in troubles in keeping links between persons and common subjects ( Smith, 2003 ) . Subjects were selected from a figure of willing campaigners based on the ability to do the interview times. Subjects were male aged from 25 to 32. All of the participants were White British and educated between A degree and Master ‘s Degree criterions severally. All participants had active societal lives and no history of mental unwellness. All the participants were trained Royal Marines Commandos ; one presently active, two ex-marines now prosecuting other callings, another who was medically retired and a medically retired reservist. All persons have combat experience from the current Afghanistan and/ or Iraq struggles with 3 of the ranger holding served multiple Tourss. 2 of the participants were known socially to the writer whilst the staying 3 had limited contact of a professional nature. Due to the little population of possible participants a societal networking site was used to offer the chance for Marines to take part in the survey.

Data aggregation

Interviews were conducted in either the participants or research workers place. Participants were once more briefed sing the purposes of the survey, any ethical concerns and their rights of backdown. When to the full satisfied participants were questioned sing their experience of combat utilizing the interview agenda as required. Interviews lasted about 45 proceedingss. All duologue was recorded and any noticeable gestures and motions were noted. All interviews were transcribed verbatim. On completion of the interview participants were debriefed, and given extra contact inside informations to back up administrations such as the Royal Marine ‘s Welfare installation and the Veterans Mental Health Charity.

Datas analysis

Data was analysed utilizing IPA pulling on the guidelines submitted by Smith et Al. ( 2003 ) . Transcripts were read multiple times before being analysed. Notes were made in the left borders sing initial readings whilst emerging subjects were listed in the right border. These subjects were compared to in order to find any connexions and the subsequent bunch were determined as major subjects. These chief subjects and sub subjects were repeatedly checked against the transcript in order to keep the right context. This process was completed for all the interviews. Subjects from all the interviews were compared to make maestro subjects relevant for all the participants.


‘Once a Marine… Always a Marine ‘

This subject, the slogan mentioning to the womb-to-tomb civilization and evident brotherhood experienced by Marines, is titled as such to reflect the importance of the participants sense of ‘identity ‘ , with both personal and group individuality looking to play an unbelievable portion in how the Marines understood their experience. This was particularly evident by their usage of linguistic communication, with all of the participants on a regular basis peppering their duologue with military, specifically Marine slang ; known as ‘Jack Speak ‘ . Eble ‘s ( 1996 ) survey on the usage of slang by college pupils suggests this is used to set up and solidify societal individuality and reinforces group coherence. This sense of ‘brotherhood ‘ was evidently evident when being met by a member of this alone community with the salutation of ‘alright Royal ‘ and other non-interviewed treatment sing ‘Bootnecks ‘ ; both endearing monikers for Royal Marine Commandos. Many of the Marines identified the given name of this community of work forces with an about reverent tone which became evident when Oscar expressed his ground for fall ining the Marines.

‘I ever wanted to fall in the Corp ( . ) since I was in my immature teenage old ages ( . ) ummm ( . ) likely because it ‘s regarded as the best of what it is ‘

The sense of pride was echoed by Mike when foregrounding the continuance of continued struggle being experienced by the ranger.

‘nearly the full Corp has got Afghan tam-tams now ( . ) we have been at war for over 10 old ages ( . ) a coevals of warriors ( . ) ‘

Slang was besides used by members of the Marines to depict, instead derogatively, members of the British Army. Hale ( 2008 ) posited that this behavior, using ‘symbolic resources ‘ , can be seen to lend to the evident ‘masculinity ‘ of the work forces ; a sensed cardinal constituent of an effectual operator. This sentiment of high quality was echoed by Mike who seemed wholly unimpressed after seemingly alleviating a ‘pinned down ‘ foot unit.

‘we remain at that place for approximately 5 yearss before we left to travel to another occupation as that one was n’t deserving our clip ( . ) typical Pongos ( … .. ) ‘

In add-on to the usage of slang, the bulk of the participants besides make mention to the specific individuality of the Marine Commandos compared to other military units. Much of this can be seen in the Marines elitist perceptual experience of their degree of preparation and the occupations which they are tasked to make. This is noted in Victors ‘s history of the difference in what is expected from the assorted armed forces.

‘if you join the Navy or the RAF or some bog standard ground forces regiment ( . ) where possibly you ‘re non gon na be anticipating to make those sort of things

Analysis of the interviews seemed to propose there are certain sensed outlooks of Royal Marine Commandos outside of direct military combat that do n’t use to other units. This, farther lending to their elitist individuality, can be seen in the shared negative attitudes sing soldiers composing and selling their non-fiction histories of war.

‘Romeo ‘ – ‘It ‘s non something I would make or look good upon ( … .. ) ‘

Additionally, Mike suggests that certain legal limitations are applied to persons that are involved in more specialized units that prevent publication of their experiences which once more could be seen to further high quality attitudes and beef up the group individuality.

‘I had to subscribe a non-disclosure to make with some of my military calling anyhow but I think it ‘s incorrect to compose about those experiences for blazing fiscal addition ( . ) ‘

Identity within the group was particularly of import for one participant ; the reservist ‘Oscar ‘ . This Marine ‘s history appeared different in the visible radiation of his position as a reservist ; something he highlights early in his interview when discoursing if he knew he would be involved in combat in Afghanistan.

‘Ummm ( . ) it was somewhat different for me ( . ) as I joined the militias ( . ) ‘

Participant Oscar ‘s interview suggests this perceived demand to be accepted by his regular opposite number ‘s even negated concerns sing combat and he was acutely cognizant of his individuality as a portion clip ranger.

‘I was more discerning of fall ining a regular unit than traveling to Afghanistan ( . ) ‘

This individuality as a group has been shown by to be improbably of import within the combat environment where functions are clearly defined and there exists lower degrees of single difference. Bourne et Al ‘s ( 1968 ) survey of a U.S Army Special Forces ‘A ‘ Team observed that they excrete similar degrees of corticoids proposing the ‘members of a well-established group ‘ may function to modify single perceptual experience and every bit good as minimise differences in response. The benefit of this is reduced arousal along with possible turning away of feelings of uncertainness therefore enabling additions in squad efficiency.

Interestingly all participants continued to use military slang and refer to themselves as Marines even if no longer helping, reflecting the old proverb of ‘Once a Marine… Always a Marine ‘ . It was noted outside of the interview that this signifier of communicating was frequently suppressed when speaking with non-members of the Marine community but would reappear when amongst others ; similar to an speech pattern of person returning to the country they grew up in. Whilst service linguistic communications remain mostly researched, research into speech patterns suggest that these can be used to set up individuality and group cooperation with in-group speech patterns pulling more positive ratings than out-group talkers ( Abrams & A ; Hogg, 1987 ) .

Analysis of the interviews indicated that the Marines public presentation and self-denial was linked to the sense of individuality and feelings of duty for fellow Marines. Fear was non considered a legitimate ground for non carry throughing, existent or perceived, outlooks and ‘Victor ‘ recalled an assault on an occupied edifice in which he was taking.

‘I remember running up to the door thought I ‘m shit scared here but you ‘ve merely got ta do it ( . ) non so much yourself but I had a duty to the chaps about me as good ( . ) It ‘s one of those state of affairss where you do n’t wan na allow anyone down and you do n’t desire to allow yourself down ( … .. ) ‘

This behavior is considered typical amongst military forces and congruent with research proposing the function of ‘responsibility ‘ as one of the chief factors in combat motive ( Ben-Shalom et Al, 2007 ) . This ‘responsibility for the group ‘ , advancing high degrees of personal subject, could be seen to contradict the fright response and replaced it with enhanced motive and even self-anger if an person failed to run into expected criterions. Charlie describes an unsuccessful brush with a Taliban insurrectionist during an early forenoon assault.

‘but the thing that concerned me the most was my hapless drill ( . ) I had n’t wiped my lens so I could n’t acquire a hole on him ‘

Paradoxically, despite the strong societal group individuality associations and linguistic communication used by the Marines the participants beleived a batch of how they understood their experience was down to single attitudes and thoughts. When asked about the efficaciousness of developing on readying for Afghanistan many of the participants believed that their ain single features were merely as of import.

‘honestly I think that ( . ) because the preparation does n’t learn you how to cover with violent death ( . ) or being killed ( . ) or the exhilaration or the fright ( . ) those things are dealt with separately ( … ) ‘ – Microphone

‘so the preparation was good at choosing those with the mental stamina but emotionally I do n’t believe ( . ) I think there ‘s nil that can fix you for that truly ( … .. ) ‘ – Academy award

Marine ‘Charlie ‘ seemed to believe preparation could merely be so realistic in readying for warfare and suggested an person ‘s childhood as a factor for get bying.

‘all Marines go through the same preparation but non everyone trades with decease the same manner so it ‘s evidently non the preparation that prepares you it ‘s merely something personal ( . ) your upbringing or something ( … .. ) ‘

Whilst the participants did non acknowledge to any childhood injury, such as maltreatment or sing the decease of a household member, military service has frequently attracted those with disruptive backgrounds. Khawand ( 2009 ) argues this entreaty may ensue from military life showing challenges that reward psychological versions that derive from childhood victimization. Additionally, theses adaptations may supply a defense mechanism against future challenges with Weissbecker et Al ( 2006 ) situating that childhood injuries can take to cortisol disregulation and flattened hydrocortisone degrees ; ensuing in lowered emphasis responses.

‘Getting the Rounds Down ‘

The subject, Marine ‘speak ‘ for depicting firing their arms and prosecuting the enemy is used to depict the overarching subject of force expressed by the Marines in the interviews. Obviously, the controlled application of force is a cardinal constituent within these work forces ‘s occupation description nevertheless the participants explained their general sentiment of the necessity of force.

‘I do n’t believe in everyone being good ( . ) and all that ( . ) before fall ining the Corp I thought deadly force was necessary and I still do ‘ – Charlie

However the Marines were cognizant of society ‘s antipathy to force and defended their actions.

‘it ‘s Irish bull and those people merely have the freedom to state that because person was violent plenty to acquire them that freedom ( . ) ‘ – Microphone

Similarly meeting opposing attitudes amongst his civilian equals, Charlie finds it hard to do people understand his perceptual experience of the necessity of force. Talking sing the misguided violent death of, at the clip possible terrorist menace, Charles de Mendez, Charlie defended the authorization ‘s actions.

‘they do n’t travel in believing they ‘ll make a soft violent death ( . ) ‘

‘because you have to do certain the menace is neutralised and make what you need ( . ) and if that means cats turn overing on him hiting every bit many times till he is a monolithic crap in the corner so that ‘s what they have to make ( . ) ‘

This defensive attitude can be explained by survey of occupational stigma involved in ‘dirty work ‘ . This term, mentioning to the completing of undertakings considered societally as disgusting or degrading can easy be applied to the combat state of affairss many of these work forces. Ashforth & A ; Kreiner ( 1999 ) suggests that despite the stigma of some businesss, in this instance the contention environing killing, many people retain high degrees of self-pride and pride and overcome societal stigma by prosecuting in the cognitive tactics of political orientation use and societal weighting.

In add-on to sing their actions as necessary, many of the Marines remark on their outlook of being involved in combat state of affairss. When asked about his feelings, upon larning he would be deployed to Afghanistan, Mike merely explained he expected combat would supply future calling chances for himself.

‘it was one of my chief grounds ( . ) evidently back so I wanted to be a bull so I thought if I got some combat experience so I would be more qualified for a occupation with say ( . ) the Met ( . ) possibly CO19 or something ( . ) so acquiring to Afghan was the precedence ‘

In fact the outlook of deploying to hostile environments seemed to be shared by all of the ‘full clip ‘ Marines.

‘that was portion of the ground I suppose ( . ) there ‘s no point in fall ining something like the Corp if you ‘re non ( . ) ‘ – Victor

This outlook of force, and possibility of decease, could be seen as an effectual pre injury get bying mechanism. Langer ( 1975 ) survey on get bying with emphasis introduced an intercession promoting cognitive revaluation of anxiety-provoking events in surgical patients which resulted in a important decrease of psychological emphasis. This is congruous with Charlie ‘s experience, who reflected, that the outlook of force helped him accept the loss of friends and co-workers.

‘it demonstrates the degree of what we were making ( … ) and I accepted that anterior to even traveling to Afghan ( . ) The state of affairs we were in it was about ineluctable that something like that would go on ( . ) ‘

Throughout the analysis it became evident that for many of the participants their engagement in combat, an anomalousness in modern-day society, was in fact considered normal behavior. The Marines recounted upseting combat events in an frequently blase manner and with an highly matter- of – fact attitude and when asked why they recollected specific events the participants offered some alarmingly similar grounds. Oscar suggested that he was in combat so many times that it required something more important to do the event memorable.

‘so I guess a batch of the contacts became a spot the same ( . ) but the large 1s ( . ) I remember the 1s the most where something specific happened ( … .. ) ‘

When discoursing some people ‘s negative perceptual experiences of force Charlie suggests it is really others lack of apprehension, non his beliefs, that are the issue.

‘I get heated about it because it does anger me ( . ) he does n’t truly understand. And that ‘s what I have found as a civvie or at uni ( . ) a batch of people have a batch of theoretical cognition but no existent universe apprehension or application ( . ) ‘

Academy award made the interesting nexus of force with the old subject of ‘Once a Marine… ‘ proposing engagement in combat was an built-in portion of the Marine individuality.

‘I did n’t wan na be that that cat that missed that coevals specifying struggle ‘

Patriotism, frequently associated with group individuality ( Kinnvall, 2004 ) on a macro degree and the induction and credence of war ( Schrock-Jacobson, 2012 ) may explicate this attitude. Identity as a British service adult male in an elect bomber group whose civilization glorifies force would cut down dissent whilst advancing combat effectual behavior. Charlie showed echt contempt at the deduction he may non hold accepted the usage and normalcy of force, apparently differing with those that do n’t.

‘I ‘m non some pacificist ( . ) ‘

However it became evident that the Marines reading of force was n’t merely an ideological credence of the necessity of war but that they really enjoyed their clip in conflict. This reaction differs from many historical histories from struggles such as World War 2 in which many soldiers, even faced with decease, could non convey themselves to fire their arms at their enemies ( Grossman & A ; Dave, 1996 ) . In fact many of the Marines expressed a desire and even missed their clip in combat. Commenting on the recent perturbations in Mali, participant Oscar, the medically retired reservist, seemed truly frustrated at his possibility of ne’er being involved in a combat state of affairs once more.

‘everyone was stating its awful ( . ) and I was stating yeah it is ( . ) I ‘m non gon na acquire any screw rounds down ( Laughing ) ‘

He continued on to state he would non desire to travel back to Afghanistan because of the increasing peaceable declaration being established within the state had resulted in a lessening in combat operations.

‘anywhere I went I do n’t believe I ‘d see a 10th of the action I saw on XXXXX ‘

The Marines frequently made visible radiation of their experiences and on a regular basis found remembering unsafe experiences made them laugh. Generally, laughter appeared to be used whenever discoursing the possibility of either incurring an hurt or utilizing deadly force. Victor describes a failed ambuscade on an enemy place which significantly increased the opportunities of a casualty occurring.

‘and it all went to rat crap ( express joying ) fundamentally from what I can retrieve they all knew we were at that place so they initiated the contact and we were massively pinned down ‘

The Marines found cases of hazard peculiarly humourous with one of the participants explicating how a patrol led by a somewhat disorientated lead lookout resulted in an unexpected and unsafe state of affairs.

‘when I look back now I remember we got into one because one of our cats walked over the incorrect span ( express joying ) and because of that we got into a spot of a TIC and because of that it ended approximately 5 or 6 hours after ‘ – Romeo

This was n’t expressed as nervous laughter and one exchange during an interview resulted in highly intense laughter sing the participant and research workers experience. This dark temper, specifically sing decease, is mostly frowned upon in society and when discoursing the efficaciousness of Oscar ‘s actions in Afghanistan the resulting laughter could hold been considered inappropriate, if non violative.

‘having said that I have n’t been back to Nad vitamin E Ali since we left and I ‘m told ( Fits of laughter )

Interveiwer – ( Laughing ) That it ‘s a lovely topographic point?

Oscar – ( Laughing ) Yeah we fucked it up when we were at that place ( … .. )

Interveiwer – ( Laughing ) Then Pongos went in an built it up once more ( … .. )

Oscar – ( Laughing ) yeah there ‘s like flower stables and everything mate ( … .. ) ‘

Whilst it is non to the full understood at that place appears to be an association between laughter and pleasance ( Pfeifer, 1994 ) proposing the Marines laughter, when remembering combat, as farther grounds for their enjoyment of conflict. This could be viewed as a cardinal constituent in the deficiency of mental upset amongst these likeminded persons. PTSD is a response to a traumatic event and although these events were unsafe there was limited negative affect associated with it, ensuing in combat non being considered traumatic. This is congruous with the thought that traumatic mental unwellness requires both arousal and emotional hurt ( Waeldeet al, 2009 ) .

Violence in worlds is frequently associated with emotions, and the purpose of emotional control ( Marvin, 2012 ) and despite the evident joy and temper experienced by the participants they all appeared to expose a high degree of emotional control with respects to their experience. Troy & A ; Mauss ( 2011 ) suggest a model whereby selective attentional controls and cognitive assessment consequence in the ability to emotionally modulate ; supplying increased resiliency to emphasize. This may explicate why participants did n’t propose any existent concerns or frights that they had about being in combat and Oscar really seemed surprised by how small emotion he felt during his combat experience.

‘to be honest ( . ) I thought I ‘d be a batch more frightened than I was ( . ) ‘

Some of the participants suggested that this sense of emotional control increased after sing combat. This could explicate why elect soldiers, who have endured longer, more backbreaking classs every bit good as being deployed on more operations, exhibit lower emphasis responses than less experient work forces. Neurochemical grounds could be seen in Morgan et Al ‘s ( 2000 ) survey on US ground forces soldiers in endurance preparation which found Neuropeptide-Y degrees in Particular Forces soldiers to be significantly higher during high emphasis questions but significantly lower at baseline compared to regular soldiers. NPY was positively correlated with both hydrocortisones and behavioral public presentation under emphasis whilst being negatively related to psychological symptoms of dissociation. This suggests a possible mechanism whereby some person ‘s neurochemistry appears to be better adapted at interceding nerve-racking state of affairss without the hazard of PTSD. Charlie believed this emotional control was utile to him and others during the experience of losing two co-workers.

‘then there was a few ( . ) who were n’t ( . ) who were merely like ( shrugs ) Uhhh and I was kinda like that ( … ) I did n’t truly ( . ) it sounds bad ( . ) but that was what we were at that place for ( . ) it demonstrates the degree of what we were making ( … )

Oscar describes his current emotional province as more regulated than his pre- combat attitude.

‘personally I think I ‘m a batch emotionally flatter than I used to be ( . ) I do n’t acquire as ( . ) I do n’t cognize ( . ) I ‘m less stressed about material but I ‘m less enthusiastic about material ( laughs ) ‘

This thought was mimicked by participant Mike who saw it as a positive development.

‘ ( . ) I think I have the ability to command certain feelings ( . ) or happen an apprehension or something ( . ) and I think that ‘s what I have gained from all these sorts of experiences ( . ) ‘

Another possible account of this lessened emphasis response may be found by looking at surveies of the emphasis endocrine hydrocortisone. Carpenter et Al ( 2009 ) observed unnatural hydrocortisone activity in phenotypically healthy grownups despite no diagnosed psychiatric upsets as a map of exposure to adverse early environments such as kid maltreatment. Whilst these participants displayed no mark of early injury it is a subjective experience that could run from a figure of issues including parental divorce to the decease of a loved 1. Dampened cortisol responsiveness, or a planate emphasis response, suggested to be cumulative over clip, coupled with the evident enjoyable experience of being in combat might hence explicate the participant ‘s positive attitude to force.


This survey looked at the experience of Marine Commandos in combat to find a figure of clear similarities in how the participants understood the experience of warfare. The consequences indicate that the Marines viewed the bulk of their experience as positive, professionally indispensable and even gratifying. Specifically, contrary to popular belief, the engagement in conflict was non considered traumatic for these work forces and as such they did non exhibit any of the traditional symptoms of a deeply traumatic experience. Paradoxically, the Marines all had a steadfast apprehension of modern perceptual experiences of combat related emphasis nevertheless at that place seemed to be a strong opposition to the thought that this was an acceptable result of combat.

The subjects presented within this survey place as get bying mechanisms that enabled the Marines to run within these inauspicious environments and conditions. Strong group individualities promote effectual squad map whilst temper has long been considered a mechanism that can cut down emphasis ( Scott et al, 2007 ) . Credence of force whilst considered detestable by many can be seen can besides be seen as a mechanism easing normal map and behavior in an highly unnatural environment. Additionally, the participant ‘s usage of cognitive assessment to intercede their emphasis along with their refusal to recognize PTSD as a possible issue for them may hold shielded them from the possibility of developing associated symptoms ; with denial long considered a defense mechanism mechanism ( Lazarus, 1998 ) .

The cardinal statement expressed within this paper nevertheless is the false belief of the contextualising all combat experience as a traumatic experience that consequences in stress reaction and upset. Agring with Dr Greenburg ( 2011 ) PTSD has become the psychiatric diagnosing most readily associated with the Armed Forces with the apprehension, since the formation of the politically influenced diagnosing, that returning warriors are likely to develop mental upset. Whilst psychological science and psychopathology should be control for immaterial variables Marlowe ( 2001 ) acknowledges that it is non possible to pattern in a vacuity and that cultural apprehensions will impact both practicians and soldiers responses to their unwellnesss. This has merely increased with the modern war of panic, with anti-war protesting and media foregrounding the enfeebling issues that some work forces develop. Possibly an account may lie in in the work towards un-stigmatizing mental unwellness. Whilst this has been important in the targeting of intervention, non to advert keeping civil rights, our society has become one where really dispute, experience and emotion has become medicalised and requires intervention. Summerfield ( 2004 ) argues that western civilization now emphasises non resilience but exposure where it one time promoted stolidity and autonomy ; with the mental wellness industry to fault by advancing ‘that the tests of life represent noxious influences easy able to perforate the mean citizen, non merely to ache but to disenable ‘ .

These observations are non posed to propose that research into mental unwellness is incorrect, and so PTSD will ever stay a primary concern for research in military mental wellness. However this paper argues that possibly this narrow minded focal point and overpowering inclination to gestate the experience of war in pathological footings may be in fact easing the development of PTSD symptoms whilst smothering the development of single ‘hardiness ‘ , effectual pre-treatments and vaccinations for combat emphasis. Foregrounding these issues promotes the importance of empirical work and the duties research workers and clinicians inherit when advancing their personal and political political orientations disguised under ‘expert ‘ pretension.

Deductions for future research

Future survey and intervention may profit from an intra-individual attack to get bying, such as how an event is appraised along with what makes participants experient events in a positive manner instead than enduring the expected negative affect. Further research into this country should concentrate on the fosterage of similar get bying mechanisms but besides single differences, such as the impact of early development and perchance neurobiological differences between those who develop war related PTSD and those with an evident resiliency.

Methodological Considerations

As with all Qualitative research there must be some recognition of the influence and prejudices of the research worker in consideration to both informations aggregation and analysis. Smith ( 1996 ) suggests that within IPA the interpretive procedure will be affected by the research worker ‘s positions. In this instance the writer is a former member of the Royal Marine Commandos and has experienced the subject of the survey first manus. Additionally 2 of the 5 participants were antecedently known to the research worker. Another consideration may be the elapsed clip since the events experienced by the participants. Although veterans of the recent Afghan and Iraq conflicts the Marines all discussed events dating back between 2 to 4 old ages. This may hold affected both the description of the events given every bit good as the participants. This survey relied on societal networking to enroll its participants. Whilst this achieved the necessary figure of topics it relies on the research worker holding the necessary figure of personal connexions. This once more raises the topic of prejudices as some of the participants may be known to the research worker. However it must be noted that all the participants involved in this survey admitted that the position of the writer as a old member of their community was the lone ground for their willing engagement and they would non hold agreed to the interviews otherwise. Additionally it could be argued that a great trade of the reading would hold been missed by a research worker unfamiliar with the facets of the participants including facets such as the alone address used by this group of work forces. This farther high spots the demand for official authorities and Armed Forces engagement into research in the countries of the experience of war, the evident differences in PTSD figures between military units and get bying mechanisms and mental resiliency. Future surveies require the full support of the Ministry of Defence to guarantee suited entree to participants and guarantee context right reading of the informations.

Get instant access to
all materials

Become a Member