I have conducted a interview with a 22 year old American Soldier who participated in combat in Iraq and has returned with post traumatic Stress Disorder.
I had to do research in the subject, conduct the interview and this last part is where I need some help. Basically I ned the answers to the following prompt with respect to an American Soldier going to Iraq which was culture shock for him, and then coming home and how his perspective would be different from mine being that I am in college living a safe life.
I will include what I have done so far and all I need is to make the relationship with the following subject matter as the last part. Basically I need the new perspective that was gained and since this is sociology- it should be from a sociological perspective. This doesn't have to be all book facts but more of a generalization on investigating cultures, how we deal with different cultural scenarios and how do we change from out experiences..in other words how w=did the soldier change.
The assignment in general is designed for you to gain a new perspective from the vantage point of another culture, subculture, social group, ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic class. How do people experience daily activities and events and how is this different from your experience? How do respondents think about common/everyday problems and why do they think similarly and/or differently than someone within your culture group? This is relevant for avoiding personal stereotypes and perspectives through sociological research methods, often offering new understandings that were once hidden.
MY WORK SO FAR
The interviewee above demonstrates a considerable amount of resiliency after his time in combat in Iraq. He suffered a painful physical injury and a psychological injury quickly identified (assumed first due to the events surrounding the burns then diagnosed). He received treatment for this burns and at the same time received treatment for his PTSD. This research conducted surrounding this interviewee focuses on the reasons why his resiliency levels are so high considering the two injuries he suffered. What makes this Marine so likely to ‘find the positives in his injuries’ and be able to laugh about his injuries and recovery? Many factors will undergo research including his biopsychosocial development, Eriksons’ stages of development, and his family structure
and their outlook on life as it affects the Marine.
The interviewee grew up in a home with his mother, father, older sister, and younger brother. He is a middle child, three years younger than his sister is. His younger brother is seven years younger. His father was in the Marine Corps until he was in third grade. His father reenlisted four times. The interviewee’s uncle, grandfather, and his grandfather’s brother were all in the Marine Corps. He is not sure of the exact military branch or status past that point, but his family
has fought in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and the Gulf War. There is a long tradition of serving their country and the family
has taken pride in their military service despite the general opinion of the nation upon their return. The interviewee grew up knowing his family
served in the military but not forced to join when he was of age. It was his decision and one that his father was very proud of when he told his dad. His mother, who knew she married into a military family
and in particular an active duty Marine, was proud of her son’s decision but as a mother fearful of his choice. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan guaranteed her son combat duty.
The interviewee grew up feeling stable in his relationships with his parents. He experienced normal development during the transitions of the six stages currently passed through. When he was just an infant, he developed trust instead of mistrust, which allowed for autonomy rather than shame or doubt as a toddler (Erikson, 1990). His father was in the Marine Corps and the family
moved twice during his first two years of life. His father was absent during much of this time due to the lag in moving, yet when he was home he was active and present with his children (Leske & Jiricka, 1998, p. 383). His mother encouraged his creativity and allowed him to explore his initiative rather than make him feel inferior for his curiosity (Erikson, 1990). As he gained more confidence, in whom he was and what he wanted to do with his future, his parents encouraged him but did not force the military decision (Erikson, 1990). He planned to join the Marines for one enlistment and then pursue college. Since making that decision, he decided to postpone college and reenlist in the Marines as he felt this was where he belonged. He dated in high school and had dated after joining the Marines (Erikson, 1990). His last girlfriend began seeing him before his deployment to Iraq and remained close via phone calls, letters, and emails. They decided that she did not have to ‘wait’ for him to come back from Iraq, as their relationship was not serious. She decided that she would date casually if interested in another man, but had no intentions to go out and date just because she could. After his injury, his girlfriend continued to support him in his recovery but did not expect the relationship to resume at the same level as prior to the deployment. He has recovered; began dating again and recently became engaged (Erikson, 1990).
As shown in above, this young man experienced a good childhood in relation to the developmental stages. His parents believe this is because they understood the military life and took precautions to raise their children in a healthy environment. During the pregnancy, she tried to reduce stressful situations in her life. It was not always possible as her husband was oversees during the majority of her pregnancy (he was deployed shortly after conception). However, she had family
support and assistance with her older daughter. The biopsychosocial development from conception on throughout his life has been generally positive, yet that does not mean the interviewee did not have issues develop in his life (Engel, 2012). He lost his grandparents while still young that he was very close too. He moved frequently and his father expected certain standards in the home due to his military career. His father suffered from undiagnosed PTSD for several years until he sought help. All of these scenarios could negatively affect the biopsychosocial development of a child (Engel, 2012). The family
affected by the PTSD but received assistance as the family
became aware of the problem and the help available (Hoge, Castro, & Eaton, 2012, p. 5-1). The family
learned skills necessary for the rebuilding of their family structure
, communication, and in very real terms saved the children from long-term damage (Toomey, Brennan, & Friesen, 2012, p. 1).
Conway and Li (2011) discovered in their research on family structures
and child outcomes that even in the worst situations, that the level of involvement from the father would directly affect the outcome of the child’s physical, psychological, and social development. The manner in which this family
believed in their father’s abilities to overcome his own issues demonstrated a resiliency and a strong family
belief system (Melbourne, et al, 2011, p. 2). The family
believed their family
could and would survive any situation they faced and as a result, the interviewee held that belief after receiving his injuries (Melbourne, et al, 2011, p. 2). This structure
of the family
system provided each member the tools to survive military life as children and in the event of the situation with the interviewee when facing injuries in combat (Melbourne, et al, 2011, p. 2). The interviewee believed his father was instrumental in his healing because of his openness to admit his feelings and cry when he was hurting (Melbourne, et al, 2011, p. 2). His father went against societal beliefs that real men do not cry, Marines do not cry, and fathers do not show weakness by crying in front of his son (Melbourne, et al, 2011, p. 2).
The interviewee spoke of the families
he witnessed in Iraq, families
torn apart by war and severe poverty and yet remained steadfastly loyal to one another (Van Breda, 2001, p. 23). Despite their opinion on the American presence in the country, the war, and the turmoil their family
faced, the interviewee saw similarities to his family
and that surprised him. His family
was all-American, long history of military service, proud Marines and devoted to remaining a strong family
unit (Van Breda, 2001, p. 23). This was what he witnessed by the Iraq people, particularly the women left to care for their family
when the men of the family
were fighting or deceased. The same determination in their manner of caring for their family
he had seen in his mother when she spoke of not wanting to see her son go off to war but accepted it as his choice, his destiny (Van Breda, 2001, p. 23). She supported what she did not want to happen because of her loyalty to the family
and her belief that no matter what happens to the family
, it will continue to be strong (Van Breda, 2001, p. 23).
Whether it was luck of the draw or his family
line is a strong and resilient one, this interviewee received strong support, proper opportunities to develop appropriately, and when physical, emotional, and social issues rose in their family
, they were committed to finding solutions that will keep the individual members and the entire family
unit healthy. In addition, the military life, particularly the Marine Corps has a motto of “taking care of their own” which may have influenced this family
as each generation has experienced a war and the consequences of combat.
The interviewee deeply affected by the death, devastation witnessed in Iraq during the world and yet saw similarities, and differences in the way families
lived and supported one another. He realized that despite the outward appearances of the families
in the United States and in Iraq, certain characteristics remained. Loyalty to family
was strong even when the family
was did not believe in the same goals of the individual members. Many mothers in the United States were saying goodbye forever to their sons and daughters, as were the mothers in Iraq. Each one faced the uncertainty of whether their child would return and if they did return, in what condition. However, the interviewee also witnessed families
that did not have resiliency and faced too many hardships without proper tools (mental, physical, and social skills and abilities) that hindered their ability to make good decisions or any decision at all. They simply gave up as their lives seemed too hard and too overwhelming to go on. The interviewee realized that his family
is unique in that regard. He also realized that his family
is why he has been able to address the trauma he faced in Iraq and with his injuries. He has resilience, appropriate development, strong self-esteem, and a social support system encouraging his complete recovery. He believes his military background added to this ability to recover so quickly and so completely despite the physical scars, he wears.
Engel, G. The Biopsychosocial Approach. 2012. Web. 20 March 2012.
Erikson, E. Erikson’s Developmental Stages. Springhouse Corporation. 1990. Web. 20 March 2012.
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Leske, J. S. & Jiricka, M. K. Impact of family
demands and family
strengths and capabilities on family
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Meredith, L. S., Sherbourne, C. D., Gaillot, S. J., Hansell, L., Ritschard, H. V., Parker, A. M., and Wrenn, G. Promoting Psychological Resilience in the U.S. Military. Rand Corporation. 2011. Print.
Smith Conway, K. and Li, M. Family Structure
and Child Outcomes: A High Definition, Wide Angle “Snapshot”. Review of Economics of the Household. March 2011. Print.
Van Breda, A.D. Resilience theory: A literature review. Pretoria, South Africa: South African Military Health Service. 2001. Print.
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