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Development and validation of a comprehensive assessment of combat experiences to facilitate research on veterans' post-combat psychological health

<p> Following more than decade of U.S. military operations in the in the Middle East, it is important to understand the impact of prolonged combat operations on the wellbeing of Veterans. To understand this relationship accurately we must have access to reliable and valid measures of combat exposure. A meta-analysis of research with combat Veterans found relatively few studies adequately assessed nature and extent of Veteran&rsquo;s combat experiences (Institute of Medicine, 2008). </p><p> The purpose of this research was to develop a more comprehensive measure of combat exposure for use in research on post-combat psychological outcomes. Seventeen Veterans participated in focus groups to support the development the Assessment of Combat Experiences (ACE). A sample of 121 Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) veterans was used to assess the psychometric properties of the ACE. Participants completed the ACE, as well as additional measures of combat exposure and psychopathology. The ACE demonstrated strong internal consistency (Cronbach&rsquo;s Alpha = . 96) and test-retest reliability (<i>r</i> = .85). Convergent and construct validity for the ACE were supported as evidenced by strong correlations (<i> r</i> = .72 to .86) with two combat-related subscales from the <i> Defense Risk and Resiliency Inventory - 2</i> (Vogt, Smith, King, &amp; King 2012), and the <i>Combat Exposure Scale</i> (Keane et al., 1989). The ACE demonstrated similar correlations with measures of psychopathology (PTSD, depression, and anxiety) as the CES and the DRRI-2. The ACE includes more detailed questions than other measures, allowing researchers to explore the impact of proximity to hostile fire, the frequency of exposures, the duration of specific exposures, and the nature of weapons used during combat operations better than is possible with other validated measures. Overall, there was strong evidence for the reliability and validity of the ACE in measuring combat exposure among this sample of OIF and OEF Veterans.</p>
Date09 September 2015
CreatorsHolloway, Kathryn
PublisherAlliant International University
Detected LanguageEnglish

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