Israeli soldiers who have served in the armed forces are three times more likely to impose aggressive behaviour after returning to civilian life than those who did not, according to a new study conducted by Metiv, an Israel Psychotrauma Centre.
Titled “Exposure to combat experiences: PTSD, somatization and violence amongst combat and non-combat veterans”, the study found that soldiers exposed to combat, who were not violent before their military service tended to display higher post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and other mood disorders.
After a survey consisting of 1,000 men aged between 21 to 48, researchers also noted that non-combatants are not excluded from combat exposure as all branches of the military are required to participate in combat events.
However, there was a significant difference between Israeli soldiers who have been in combat and non-combatants..
Metiv research head Dr Anna Harwood-Gross and Metiv Director-General and PTSD expert Professor Danny Brom, wrote: “What is important when looking at soldiers is not their formal status of being in a combat unit or serving elsewhere, but more the exposure to combat situations. The exposure does happen also to a certain degree to people serving in non-combat roles. While combat veterans demonstrated more psychological symptoms than non-combat veterans, the greatest difference was observed for those exposed to combat experiences regardless of service type.”
“The study directly impacts the design of post-military care structures,” they added.
All Jewish and Druze Israeli citizens over 18 are expected to serve in the army. Israel’s 20 per cent Arab population and certain ultra-Orthodox Jews are exempt.