Introduction Qualitative insights may demonstrate how combat medics (CM) deal with stressors and identify how resilience can potentially develop. Yet, qualitative research is scant in comparison to the many quantitative studies of health outcomes associated with military service.
Method Semistructured qualitative interviews were used to collect personal narratives of US Army CMs who had previously served in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Results Thematic analysis revealed three key driving forces for how resilience develops in the context of combat and war. The first was patriotism, which captures loyalty and full commitment to the military and its missions. The second was commitment to their family, reflecting the balance of responsibility to family of origin with the obligation one feels towards their military family. The last driving force was faith, or the drive to reach towards the transcendent to provide a moral compass and develop empathy in the face of difficult situations.
Conclusions An individual’s commitment to country, military family and faith strengthens their resilience, and this can be used to inform future research efforts as well as current clinical practice.
- narrative analysis
- combat medic
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Contributors CAR conducted the final narrative analysis, substantially contributed to the initial writing and completed the major revisions. SWG constructed the initial outline, participated in the qualitative analysis and contributed to the writing. PAA participated in the qualitative data analysis and contributed to the writing. ERH provided narrative analysis consultation on the initial submission. PD provided analytic and editorial input. DWR is an original investigator for the Soldier Medic Mettle Study. DWR participated in the qualitative data analysis and contributed to the writing. All authors approved the final article. DWR is the guarantor.
Funding This study was funded by the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Institutional Review Board.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.