PSYCH  Vol.5 No.15 , October 2014
The Role of an Animal-Mascot in the Psychological Adjustment of Soldiers Exposed to Combat Stress
ABSTRACT
For many soldiers confronted with exposure to stressful situations, an animal-mascot bond is considered effective help for dealing with the stress. While most studies carried out on animals’ needs concentrate on the care of civilian individuals, our focus was on determining the reliability of an instrument to measure emotional, rational and psychosocial needs of the military engaged in numerous conflicts around the world, and to analyze its external validation. Methods: In an anonymous cross-sectional retrospective survey, we applied the animal-mascot bond questionnaire (AMBS) associated with Coping Inventory Stressful Scale (CISS), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Check List Scale (PCL-S) assessments to 168 soldiers after their deployment in theatre. Results: Factor analyses of the 23-item construct (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.962) pointed to a 3-factor solution, which revealed 77.03% of variance: 1) Animal-group bond, 2) Individual-animal emotional bond, and 3) Individual-animal rational bond. All these factors were positively correlated with the emotional-centred coping . Human-animal bonds were greater for soldiers with the provisional diagnosis of PTSD. Limited responsibility was the strongest predictor for animalmascot bonds. Both individual animal bonds were also predicted by the PTSD status and emotional coping. Conclusions: The evaluation of the AMBS revealed that the instrument had good psychometric properties. Soldiers with less responsibility, PTSD and emotional-coping scored the highest on the AMBS suggesting that they expressed the highest needs for a bond with an animalmascot. One may assume that the animal-mascot bonds will trend to a therapeutic coping process for mitigating distress for soldiers.

Cite this paper
Trousselard, M. , Jean, A. , Beiger, F. , Marchandot, F. , Davoust, B. & Canini, F. (2014). The Role of an Animal-Mascot in the Psychological Adjustment of Soldiers Exposed to Combat Stress. Psychology, 5, 1821-1836. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.515188.
References
[1]   Allen, K., Shykoff, B. E., & Izzo, J. L. (2001). Pet Ownership, but Not ACE Inhibitor Therapy, Blunts Home Blood Pressure Responses to Mental Stress. Hypertension, 38, 815-820.

[2]   American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.). Washington DC: American Psychiatric Association.

[3]   Badura, A. S. (2003). Theoretical and Empirical Exploration of the Similarities between Emotional Numbing in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Alexithymia. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 17, 349-360.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0887-6185(02)00201-3

[4]   Baert, P., Trousselard, M., & Clervoy, P. (2011). Post-Traumatique Stress Disorder after a Submarine Accident. Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine, 82, 643-647.
http://dx.doi.org/10.3357/ASEM.2953.2011

[5]   Bales, R. F. (1950). Interaction Process Analysis: A Method for the Study of Small Groups. Cambridge: Addison-Wesley.

[6]   Barker, S. B., & Wolen, A. R. (2008). The Benefits of Human-Companion Animal Interaction: A Review. Journal of Veterinary and Medical Education, 35, 487-495.
http://dx.doi.org/10.3138/jvme.35.4.487

[7]   Barnette, J. J. (2000). Effects of Stem and Likert Response Option Reversals on Survey Internal Consistency: If You Feel the Need, There Is a Better Alternative to Using Those Negatively Worded Stems. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 60, 361-370.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00131640021970592

[8]   Baschnagel, J. S., Gudmundsdottir, B., Hawk Jr., L. W., & Beck, J. G. (2009). Post-Trauma Symptoms Following Indirect Exposure to the September 11th Terrorist Attacks: The Predictive Role of Dispositional Coping. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23, 915-922.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2009.05.005

[9]   Beal, D. J., Cohen, R. R., Burke, M. J., & McLendon, C. L. (2003). Cohesion and Performance in Groups: A Meta-Analytic Clarification of Construct Relations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 989-1004.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.88.6.989

[10]   Benotsch, E. G., Brailey, K., Vasterling, J. J., Uddo, M., Constans, J. I., & Sutker, P. B. (2000). War Zone Stress, Personal and Environmental Resources, and PTSD Symptoms in Gulf War Veterans: A Longitudinal Perspective. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 109, 205-213.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-843X.109.2.205

[11]   Bergstrom, B. A. (1998). Rating Scale Analysis: Gauging the Impact of Positively and Negatively Worded Items. San Diego, CA: American Educational Research Association.

[12]   Besharat, M. A. (2010). Relationship of Alexithymia with Coping Styles and Interpersonal Problems. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 5, 614-618.

[13]   Bliese, P. D., Wright, K. M., Adler, A. B., Cabrera, O., Castro, C. A., & Hoge, C. W. (2008). Validating the Primary Care Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Screen and the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist with Soldiers Returning from Combat. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 272-281.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.76.2.272

[14]   Breslau, N. (2001). Outcomes of Post-Traumatic Disorders. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 62, 55-59.

[15]   Bryant, R. A., & Harvey, A. G. (1995). Avoidant Coping Style and Post-Traumatic Stress Following Motor Vehicle Accidents. Behaviour Research & Therapy, 33, 631-635.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0005-7967(94)00093-Y

[16]   Bryant, R. A., Marosszeky, J. E., Crooks, J., Baguley, I., & Gurka, J. (2000). Coping Style and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Following Severe Traumatic Brain Injury. Brain Injury, 14, 175-180.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/026990500120826

[17]   Caprilli, S., & Messeri, A. (2006). Animal-Assisted Activity at A. Meyer Children’s Hospital: A Pilot Study. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 3, 379-383.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nel029

[18]   Chamberlain, V. M., & Cummings, M. N. (1984). Development of an Instructor/Course Evaluation Instrument. College Student Journal, 18, 246-250.

[19]   Chur-Hansen, A., Stern, C., & Winefield, H. (2010). Gaps in the Evidence about Companion Animals and Human Health: Some Suggestions for Progress International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare, 8, 140-146.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-1609.2010.00176.x

[20]   Cohen, S., & Willis, T. A. (1985). Stress, Social Support, and the Buffering Hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98, 310-357.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.98.2.310

[21]   Dalgleish, T., Joseph, S., Thrasher, S., Tranah, T., & Yule, W. (1996). Crisis Support Following the Herald of Free Enterprise Disaster: A Longitudinal Perspective. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9, 833-845.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jts.2490090411

[22]   DeRoma, V., Saylor, C., Swickert, R., Sinisi, C., Marable, T. B., & Vickery, P. (2003). College Students’ PTSD Symptoms, Coping, and Perceived Benefits Following Media Exposure to 9/11. Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 18, 49-64.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J035v18n01_05

[23]   Deutsch, M., & Gerard, H. B. (1955). A Study of Normative and Informational Social Influence upon Individual Judgment. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51, 629-636.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0046408

[24]   Ehlers, A., & Clark, D. M. (2000). A Cognitive Model of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 38, 319-345.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0005-7967(99)00123-0

[25]   Endler, N. S., & Parker, J. D. A. (1990). Multidimensional Assessment of Coping: A Critical Evaluation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 844-854.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.58.5.844

[26]   Endler, N. S., & Parker, J. D. A. (1999). Coping Inventory Stressful Situations (CISS): Manual (2nd ed.). Toronto: Multi-Health Systems.

[27]   Fick, K. M. (1993). The Influence of an Animal on Social Interactions of Nursing Home Residents in a Group Setting. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 47, 529-534.
http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.47.6.529

[28]   Fine, A. H. (2006). Handbook on Animal-Assisted Therapy: Theoretical Foundations and Guidelines for Practices (2nd ed.). London: Elsevier Inc.

[29]   Foa, E. B., & Hearst-Ikeda, D. (1996). Emotional Dissociation in Response to Trauma: An Information-Processing Approach. In L. K. Michelson, & W. J. Ray (Eds.), Handbook of Dissociation: Theoretical, Empirical, and Clinical Perspectives (pp. 207-224). New York, NY: Plenum Press.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-0310-5_10

[30]   Foa, E. B., & Kozak, M. J. (1986). Emotional Processing of Fear: Exposure to Corrective Information. Psychological Bulletin, 99, 20-35.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.99.1.20

[31]   Foa, E. B., Ehlers, A., Clark, D. M., Tolin, D. F., & Orsillo, S. M. (1999). The Post-Traumatic Cognition Inventory (PTCI): Development and Validation. Psychological Assessment, 11, 303-314.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1040-3590.11.3.303

[32]   Folkman, S., & Lazarus, R. S. (1985). If It Changes It Must Be a Process: Study of Emotion and Coping during Three Stages of a College Examination. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 150-170.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.48.1.150

[33]   Folkman, S., & Moskowitz, J. T. (2004). Coping: Pitfalls and Promise. Annual Review of Psychology, 55, 745-774.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141456

[34]   Friedman, E., Katcher, A. H., Lynch, J. J., & Thomas, S. A. (1980). Human Companions and One Year Survival of Patients after Discharge from a Coronary Care Unit. Public Health Report, 95, 307-312.

[35]   Friedmann, E., & Son, H. (2009). The Human-Companion Animal Bond: How Human Benefit. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, 39, 293-326.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cvsm.2008.10.015

[36]   Friedmann, E., & Lockwood, R. (1991). Validation and Use of the Animal Thematic Apperception Test (ATAT). Anthrozoos, 4, 174-183.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/089279391787057134

[37]   Furby, L., & Wilke, M. (1982). Some Characteristics of Infants’ Preferred Toys. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 140, 207-219.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221325.1982.10534193

[38]   Garnefski, N., & Kraaij, V. (2006). Relationships between Cognitive Emotion Regulation Strategies and Depressive Symptoms: A Comparative Study of Five Specific Samples. Personality and Individual Differences, 40, 1659-1669.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2005.12.009

[39]   Griffith, J. (2002). Multilevel Analysis of Cohesion’s Relation to Stress, Well-Being, Identification, Disintegration, and Perceived Combat Readiness. Military Psychology, 14, 217-239.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/S15327876MP1403_3

[40]   Griffith, J., & Vaitkus, M. (1999). Relating Cohesion to Stress, Strain, Disintegration, and Performance: An Organizing Framework. Military Psychology, 11, 27-55.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s15327876mp1101_3

[41]   Grinker, R. R., & Spiegel, J. P. (1945). Men under Stress. Philadelphia, PA: Blakiston Company.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/10784-000

[42]   Headey, B., & Grabka, M. (2007). Pets and Human Health in Germany and Australia: National Longitudinal Study. Social Indicators Research, 80, 297-311.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11205-005-5072-z

[43]   Herzog, H. (2011). The Impact of Pets on Human Health and Psychological Well-Being: Fact, Fiction, or Hypothesis? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20, 236-239.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0963721411415220

[44]   Hoge, C. W., Castro, C. A., Messer, S. C., McGurk, D., Cotting, D. I., & Koffman, R. L. (2004). Combat Duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mental Health Problems, and Barriers to Care. New England Journal of Medicine, 351, 13-22.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa040603

[45]   Hoge, C. W., Terhakopian, A., Castro, C. A., Messer, S. C., & Engel, C. C. (2007). Association of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder with Somatic Symptoms, Health Care Visits, and Absenteeism among Iraq War Veterans. American Journal of Psychiatry, 164, 150-153.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.164.1.150

[46]   Hogg, M. A. (1992). The Social Psychology of Group Cohesiveness: From Attraction to Social Identity. New York: New York University Press.

[47]   Horowitz, M. (1986). Stress Response Syndromes (2nd ed.). New York: Aronson.

[48]   Johnsen, B. H., Eid, J., Laberg, J. C., & Thayer, J. F. (2002). The Effect of Sensitization and Coping Style on Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms and Quality of Life: Two Longitudinal Studies. Scandinavia Journal of Psychology, 43, 181-188.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9450.00285

[49]   Kashdan, T. B., Elhai, J. D., & Frueh, B. C. (2006). Anhedonia and Emotional Numbing in Combat Veterans with PTSD. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 457-467.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2005.03.001

[50]   Kessler, R. C., Sonnega, A., Bromet, E., Hughes, M., & Nelson, C. B. (1995). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey. JAMA Psychiatry, 52, 1048-1060.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.1995.03950240066012

[51]   Kolts, R. L., Robinson, A. M., & Tracy, J. J. (2004). The Relationship of Sociotropy and Autonomy to Posttraumatic Cognitions and PTSD Symptomatology in Trauma Survivors. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 60, 53-63.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jclp.10193

[52]   Krohne, H. W. (1993). Vigilance and Cognitive Avoidance as Concepts in Coping Research. In H. W. Krohne (Ed.), Attention and Avoidance. Strategies in Coping with Aversiveness (pp. 19-50). Seattle, WA: Hogrefe & Huber.

[53]   Lazarus, R. S. (1999). Stress and Emotion: A New Synthesis. New York: Springer Publishing Co. Inc.

[54]   Lutwac-Bloom, P., Wijewickrama, R., & Smith, B. (2005). Effects of Pets versus People Visits with Nursing Home Residents. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 44, 137-159.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J083v44n03_09

[55]   Marsh, H. W. (1996). Positive and Negative Global Self Esteem: A Substantively Meaningful Distinction or Artifactors? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 810-819.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.70.4.810

[56]   Pineles, S. L., Mostoufi, S. M., Ready, C. B., Street, A. E., Griffin, M. G., & Resick, P. A. (2011). Trauma Reactivity, Avoidant Coping, and PTSD Symptoms: A Moderating Relationship? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120, 240-246.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0022123

[57]   Rossbach, K. A., & Wilson, J. P. (1992). Does a Dog’s Presence Make a Person Appear More Likeable? Anthrozoos, 5, 40-51.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/089279392787011593

[58]   Schneider, M., & Harley, L. (2006). How Dogs Influence the Evaluation of Psychotherapists. Anthrozoos, 19, 128-142.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/089279306785593784

[59]   Schriesheim, C. A., & Hill, K. D. (1981). Controlling Acquiescence Response Bias by Item Reversals: The Effect on Questionnaire Validity. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 41, 1101-1114.

[60]   Schriesheim, C. A., Eisenbach, R. J., & Hill, K. D. (1991). The Effect of Negation and Polar Opposite Item Reversals on Questionnaire Reliability and Validity: An Experimental Investigation. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 51, 67-78.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0013164491511005

[61]   Siebold, G. L. (2007). The Essence of Military Group Cohesion. Armed Forces & Society, 33, 286-295.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0095327X06294173

[62]   Siegel, J. (1990). Stressful Life Events and Use of Physician Services among the Elderly: The Moderating Role of Pet Ownership. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 58, 1081-1086.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.58.6.1081

[63]   Siegel, J. M., Angulo, F. J., Detels, R., Wesch, J., & Mullen, A. (1999). AIDS Diagnosis and Depression in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study: The Ameliorating Impact of Pet Ownership. AIDS Care, 11, 157-170.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09540129948054

[64]   Silver, R. C., Holman, E. A., McIntosh, D. N., Poulin, M., & Gil-Rivas, V. (2002). Nationwide Longitudinal Study of Psychological Responses to September 11. Journal of the American Medical Association, 288, 1235-1244.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.288.10.1235

[65]   Solomon, Z., Mikulincer, M., & Avitzur, E. (1988). Coping, Locus of Control, Social Support, and Combat-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Prospective Study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 55, 279-285.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.55.2.279

[66]   Solomon, Z., Mikulincer, M., & Hobfoll, S. E. (1986). The Effects of Social Support and Battle Intensity on Loneliness and Breakdown during Combat. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1269-1276.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.51.6.1269

[67]   Souter, A., & Miller, M. (2007). Do Animal-Assisted Activities Effectively Treat Depression? A Meta-Analysis. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of the Interactions of Peoples and Animals, 20, 167-181.

[68]   Stein, A. L., Tran, G. Q, Lund, L. M., Haji, U., Dashevskey, B. A., & Baker, D. G. (2005). Correlates for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Gulf War Veterans: A Retrospective Study of Main and Moderating Effects. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 19, 861-876.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2004.09.006

[69]   Stein, D. J., Cloitre, M., Nemeroff, C. B., Nutt, D. J., Shalev, A., Wittchen, H., & Zohar, J. (2009). Cape Town Consensus on PostTraumatic Stress Disorder. CNS Spectrums, 14, 52-58.

[70]   Steiner, M., & Neumann, M. (1978). Traumatic Neurosis and Social Support in the Yom Kippur War Returnees. Military Medicine, 143, 866-868.

[71]   Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2001). Using Multivariate Statistics (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

[72]   Vasterling, J. J., Proctor, S. P., Amoroso, P., Kane, R., Heeren, T., & White, R. F. (2006). Neuropsychological Outcomes of Army Personnel Following Deployment to the Iraq War. Journal of the American Medical Association, 296, 519-529.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.296.5.519

[73]   Walker, E. A., Newman, E., Dobie, D. J., Ciechanowski, P., & Katon, W. (2002). Validation of the PTSD Checklist in an HMO Sample of Women. General Hospital Psychiatry, 24, 375-380.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0163-8343(02)00203-7

[74]   Wells, D. L. (2009). The Effects of Animals on Human Health and Well-Being. Journal of Social Issues, 65, 523-543.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4560.2009.01612.x

[75]   Wolfe, J., Keane, T. M., Kaloupek, D. G., Mora, C. A., & Wine, P. (1993). Patterns of Positive Readjustment in Vietnam Combat Veterans. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 6, 179-193.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jts.2490060203

[76]   Yamaguchi, J. (1997). Positive versus Negative Wording. Rasch Measurement Transactions, 11, 567.

[77]   Yeager, D. E., Magruder, K. M., Knapp, R. G., Nicholas, J. S., & Frueh, B. C. (2007). Performance Characteristics of the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist and SPAN in Veterans Affairs Primary Care Settings. General Hospital Psychiatry, 29, 294-301.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2007.03.004

[78]   Zasloff, R. L., & Kidd, A. H. (1994). Loneliness and Pet Ownership among Single Women. Psychological Reports, 75, 747-752.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2466/pr0.1994.75.2.747

 
 
Top