How do you see me? The impact of perceived societal recognition on PTSD symptoms amongst Norwegian peacekeepers

Anna Harwood-Gross, Andreas Espetvedt Nordstrand, Hans Jakob Bøe, Christer Lunde Gjerstad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The peacekeeper role is different to that of traditional combat, however, peacekeepers, like combat soldiers, may also be exposed to high levels of dangerous and/or potentially morally injurious events (PMIEs). Objective: It was hypothesized that given the centrality of societal approval for the peacekeeping mission, in addition to the known relevance of perceived social support, perceived societal recognition would influence PTSD symptoms (PTSS) and depression. It was hypothesized that perceived societal recognition would moderate the effect of exposure to potentially traumatic events and PMIEs on psychological outcomes. Method: 8341, predominantly male, former UNIFIL peacekeepers, almost three decades following deployment, answered a survey to determine the impact of perceived social support and perceived societal recognition, on PTSS and depression symptoms. Hierarchical regression analyses were performed for PTSS and depression separately and moderation analysis was performed for perceived societal recognition. Results: Exposure to potentially traumatic events showed the greatest predictive value for PTSS and exposure to PMIEs and potentially traumatic events were equally predictive of depression symptoms. While perceived social support presented the strongest buffer for PTSS and depression symptoms following UNIFIL deployment, perceived societal recognition also significantly contributed to the prediction of both PTSS and depression symptoms. There was a weak moderation effect of perceived societal recognition on trauma type in the development of PTSS. Conclusions: Even decades following peacekeeping deployment, military experiences have a significant impact on psychological functioning. This impact is both from the types of events experienced and from the perception of social and societal support upon return home.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2314442
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • moral injury
  • peacekeepers
  • PTSD
  • recognition
  • society


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