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  2. Lessons from the Field
  3. The Psychology of the Peacekeeper by Thomas W. Britt, ed., Amy B. Adler, ed. - Praeger - ABC-CLIO
  4. The Psychology of Peacekeeping

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This edited volume gives new importance to the psychological factors that can lead to armed conflict and durable peace, as well as the necessary role of psychology in addressing modern-day conflicts. Try our Search Tips. Topics Libraries Unlimited Librarianship: Theory and direct research with peacekeepers is incorporated.

Missions covered include, but are not limited to, peacekeeping operations in Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Lebanon. The terminology of peacekeeping and military operations is listed. The stressors, threats, dangers, frustrations, and benefits of the peacekeeper role are described in dramatic detail, with additional attention to the Peacekeeper Stress Syndrome. With the goal of increasing peacekeeper health and well-being, which in turn increases the likelihood of establishing a stable peace, this volume also addresses interventions and preventative measures.

The extent of psychological distress and disorders following peacekeeping operations is documented.

Lessons from the Field

Interventions are recommended for various phases of deployment, in order to minimize the likelihood of post-deployment psychological problems. Rapid reintegration may add to the problems further by not giving the soldier adequate time and opportunity to develop a perspective and effect closure. Soldiers with the disposition of psychological hardiness were noted to do well in PKO atmosphere.

In a Dutch study, it was found that those with personality traits of negativism psycho-neuroticism were vulnerable for stress reactions. Peacekeepers are noted to cope with stress in five main ways: Peacekeeping operation personnel respond to stressors in both positive and negative ways.

In some ways, PKOs are like low-intensity conflicts LIC the only difference being in LIC security personnel operate against identified groups who indulge in aggression against legitimate state. To a certain extent, PKOs are also like working in manmade disaster situations with large-scale human misery and humanitarian effort, but in PKOs, humanitarian effort is but one aspect of multi-dimensional operations. Keeping with the unique nature of stressors, several psychiatric syndromes were described.

In combat scenarios of PKOs, soldiers may suffer from this condition which could be of mild, moderate or severe in nature. Mild conditions generally manifest in the form heightened arousal symptoms.

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Increased or decreased motor activity will be additional features in moderate conditions while severe conditions present with transient psychotic features. This is an analogy to sudden failure of combustion of the jet engine due to bird hit or fuel loss. A burnout like a condition developing rapidly in disaster, trauma or PKO is called flame out. Peacekeepers develop this syndrome when they find themselves unable to respond to atrocities and violence due to strict ROE. This syndrome is characterized by rage, delusions, frustration, feelings of impotence, and helplessness.

Survivors of combat or other serious traumatic situations blame themselves inappropriately for the death of others in the same situation. This is an analogy to a rocket with spent fuel circling the earth mechanically. The syndrome arises out of chronic workplace tedium and characterized by diminished interest in the work, physical and mental exhaustion and neglect of personal needs for food, rest, friends and family. Compassion fatigue occurs in trauma care workers who help people over long periods.

It is characterized by gradual lessening of compassion and resistance to help others. Sufferers exhibit negative attitudes, anhedonia, anxiety, feelings of incompetency, self-doubt, and nightmares to be contrasted with burnout which occurs due to routine workplace tedium. This wide variance was attributed mainly to the degree of combat exposure and the subjective experience of the actual trauma. Complex posttraumatic stress disorder PTSD is a variant which occurs in those who are exposed to prolonged or extreme repeated stress and characterized by affect dysregulation, altered ability to form interpersonal relations, enduring feelings of revenge, preoccupation with perpetrators and self-destructive behavior.

This syndrome is characterized by inappropriate over-involvement, excitement, and a sense of omnipotence. The high of this condition may border on hypomania. It is a syndrome of role identity conflict in PKO soldiers compounded by long-term frustration, outrage, guilt, and mortal fear. Fear of losing control over own aggression predominates the picture. This is a permanent change in personality after combat experience and characterized by alienation from society.

They find homecoming stressful and establish countercultural lifestyles e. Vietnam veteran biker groups. This occurs in a hostage situation. Hostages may express sympathy, empathy, and positive feelings toward their captors. In some soldiers, general psychiatric conditions may get precipitated, or it might so happen that some soldiers may enter into PKOs while still undergoing psychiatric treatment through extra-service sources.

In one study, though If one draws a parallel to the psychiatric morbidity in LIC operations[ 39 , 40 , 41 ] the morbidity in PKOs could, in fact, be quite significant. For families, as for the peacekeepers, peacekeeping brings a mixed bag of problems and positives. Two-thirds of the families reported feeling better than expected. Some felt bored, depressed, and loss of support.

The Psychology of the Peacekeeper by Thomas W. Britt, ed., Amy B. Adler, ed. - Praeger - ABC-CLIO

It is a natural emotional reaction to the traumatic experience of a significant other and manifests in the form of a variety of cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms. It refers to physical and emotional demands experienced by all family members around the time of homecoming of a soldier. Families require about 3 months to feel comfortable with each other again. A sense of fulfillment in helping other people in need, contributing to the good of other nations, experience of working with militaries of other nations, exposure to new equipment, experiencing a sense of effectiveness in working in alien culture and so on may bring feeling of competence and confidence leading to a new perspective of life and one's role as a military person.

The UN PKOs can be quite different from each other as far as the demand for adjustments are concerned; for example in Somalia UN forces were subjected to violent attacks while in Cambodia civilian members outnumbered the military personnel as the focus was on peace building. As each country will have its own culture, it will be quite difficult to set guidelines that could be universally applicable.

U.N. Peacekeeping Is Vital—and So Is its Reform

The UN Mission Readiness and Stress Management booklet[ 42 ] and the UN Stress Management Booklet[ 8 ] give simple guidelines for psychologically preparing the civilian and military peacekeepers for PKO missions and managing varying stresses of predeployment, deployment and postdeployment stages. Fundamentally, the guidelines envisage peer support and self-help for basic and cumulative stress and professional help for critical event stress and major psychiatric disorders.

In the Predeployment phase the focus is on imparting knowledge about various aspects of the mission: Terrain, culture, nature of mission, likely duration, health risks, risk for life, potential for combat, and so on. Members are put through individual and group stress management skill drills which may include deep breathing, muscular relaxation, positive imagery, positive self-talk and meditation; group activities may consist of peer sharing, practicing humor, psychological first aid PFA , recreation, critical incident stress debriefing CISD , and critical event stress management CISM.

During deployment competent command ensures unit cohesion and esprit de corps which are essential bulwarks against breakdown of discipline and stress. Leadership like Caesar's wife should not only be good but also to be seen as good. Pearn gives information in a nutshell about the methods of management of specific stress syndromes. Ideally, further progress of the members need to be followed-up to identify delayed emergence of PTSD and persisting postdeployment syndrome symptoms and other sequelae.

The Psychology of Peacekeeping

Psychological support should be extended continuously the families to identify secondary traumatization and suffering. Mechanisms for service delivery have to be put in place to ensure continuity of care. Peacekeeping operations, by the very nature of their complex politico-military-humanitarian responsibilities, have redefined the role of modern armed forces.

Soldier members of PKOs will continue to be subjected to novel stressors which could be even more demanding than those of conventional combat.

As a concept, peacekeeping has evolved over time and will continue to evolve with changing geopolitical scenario. PKOs will need to keep in step with changing times and resulting changes in the patterns of stress. Military psychiatrists and psychologists have an obligation to study the psychological factors of PKO systematically so that actionable information is available to the commanders and the policy makers at various levels.

The burgeoning research interest in the mental health issues of PKOs is a relatively recent phenomenon; going by the trend and trajectory one can visualize more vigorous and sustained expeditions into this area. Sadly, Indian research in this field is appallingly conspicuous by its absence. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Ind Psychiatry J v. Raju, Department of Psychiatry. Bhopal - , India. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Peacekeeping operations are but one aspect of the systems of peace that have evolved over the past seven decades in a world that is riven with violence of all kinds. Military psychiatry, operational stress, peacekeeping operations, psychological aspects. Traditional peacekeeping During the cold war, period unarmed or lightly armed military personnel from member countries acted as buffers between warring factions after a peace treaty was negotiated, agreed upon and signed. Multi-dimensional peace keeping After the collapse of cold war in the late s, intra-state ethnic, cultural, tribal, and political conflicts came to the fore all over the world as a result of which not only PKOs have grown in size but also have become more complex to include such activities as facilitating political process through dialog and reconciliation; protecting civilians in the conflict areas; assisting disarming, demobilization and reintegration of combatants; electoral support, law and order maintenance; economic and social support, humanitarian aid and so on as a result of which nonmilitary elements also became substantial.

Role of India in peacekeeping India deployed its troops for the first time in Korea as a part of UN peacekeeping mission in and has been the largest contributor to UN PKOs ever since. Deployment stressors Deployment in an alien terrain and environment in a role that is fundamentally different from that of soldiering can be quite stressful for the soldiers trained for conventional war.

Isolation In PKOs, isolation is physical and psychological as members are often deployed in remote areas from where they find it difficult to communicate with their families. Ambiguity Soldiers are trained for war. Danger Only the main conflicting parties are parties to the consent agreement for PKOs. Boredom soldiers may suffer from the stress of ennui because of simple, repetitive, and monotonous routines and lack of entertainment and lack of professionally meaningful work. Witnessing atrocities and human remains Peacekeeping operation soldiers are obliged to maintain impartiality dictated by the ROE.

Powerlessness Inability to retaliate in kind in the face of hostile mobs, frustrating negotiations at checkpoints, passing through destruction may make peacekeepers feel powerless. Doubts Peacekeepers may experience doubts about their ability to meet the needs of the local population. Homesickness Soldiers the world over are known to carry their homes to their workplace. Heterogeneity and fluid command structure In a given mission elements of more than a dozen nations may participate making the working milieu somewhat fuzzy.

Human suffering Peacekeeping operations are undertaken in chaotic conditions.