Table 1

Theoretical coding and development example22

The Army's competitive, predominately young male environment is the strongest bastion of the macho image (J2, J6), with an expectation that soldiers maintain ‘a stiff upper lip’ with applied stoicism, as ‘big boys don't cry’ (J5). Within the Army, the macho image had a defined hierarchy from the super tough parachute and infantry regiments (J3) to softer elements, such as MH clinicians (J20). However, Army medics carry guns, face operational threats and are still part of the military culture (J13), belonging to an institution that civilians do not understand, and have cultural coping mechanisms, exemplified in black humour (J1). The military macho image is not necessarily conscious or accepted, but stems from traditional military culture (J4), and for very good reasons (J8). No other job expects the workforce to openly risk their lives, and soldiers must be tough, and those who fit this model do very well (J9), although articulation of being scared (J14), in particular, Officers (J17), and senior ranks (J18), is not done (J15). But there is a balance to be struck (J7), including recognition that some want to go to war and those who do not (J21), and the macho image can be a barrier to seeking MH support (J16). At times, soldiers require time out and someone to value them as individuals (J12), and for certain traumas, such as, bereavement or relationship problems, support is advocated (J11). In some units, soldiers are still willing to seek help because in the Army training they are taught the need to be fit for task, in both mind and body, and therefore if they are feeling stressed or depressed they seek support (J10).
There is also a gender issue, and while men are more concerned regarding stigma (J19, J22), even for trauma related issues (J25), there is also a macho culture with female soldiers (J24), although on the whole it is easier for women to access support (J23).
JJMacho culture
J1DD 7.18We are a big macho organisation, which is fairly unforgiving, which is full of black humour, and sought of non PC, is a restrictive sense view
J2DD 18.07So, it continues to be a dangerous and challenging job, for both sexes. In a culture that is still very macho
J3DD 26.50How do you punish a Parachute Regiment soldier? You tell him he is not going on the next deployment
J4EE 22.55I think the chances are that in a male dominated environment, that, and because of the culture of machoness, there is still, you know, if you like, not necessarily a conscious thing. Or an accepted thing
J5EE 33.12Being male and fighting... big boys don't cry
  • A representative sample of how five of the comments (from the 25 used to form this section) are handled. The letter and number highlighted in bold refer to the research sample comments. DD and EE are the fourth and fifth anonymised participants with the time in the interview when that comment was made in minutes and seconds, that is, 7.18 indicating 7 min and 18 s. This provides an audit and governance trail.