Perceived stress and personal growth following the transition to military service: The role of sense of coherence and perceived social support

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Abstract

Relying on personal growth and structuration theories, we aimed to examine the internal (sense of coherence/SOC and help-seeking/HS) and external (perceived social support) resources that contribute to soldiers' personal growth following the transition to military service. We also investigated the role that perceived social support plays in moderating the relationship between SOC and personal growth, and between HS and personal growth. Two-hundred-and-seventy-one compulsory service soldiers (of whom 135 were men and 136 were women) completed self-report questionnaires between 6 and 12 months post-recruitment. The results showed both linear and curvilinear associations between soldiers' perceived stress and personal growth; SOC, HS, and perceived social support were positively correlated with personal growth; and perceived social support moderated both SOC and HS correlations with personal growth. Empirical evidence of personal growth in the transition to military service has been scant. Transitioning from civilian life to military service can be stressful and even traumatic but it can also provide opportunities for personal development. Our findings shed light on contributors to personal growth in the transition to military service, with both internal and external resources found to help one gain personal growth. It is evident that in order for soldiers to thrive, both perceived social support and active help-seeking are key factors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalStress and Health
Early online date22 Apr 2024
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 22 Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Stress and Health published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords

  • help-seeking
  • military service
  • perceived social support
  • personal growth
  • sense of coherence
  • stress

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