Coping with Transitions: The Case of Combat Reserve Forces

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2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Reserve duty is described as cyclical, ambivalent, and complex and as involving traumatic elements in all militaries. However, to our knowledge, little has been written about how the soldiers themselves phenomenologically define the experience within specific social contexts. Israel has mandatory military service for all citizens, many of whom continue to serve in the reserves. Given the ongoing conflicts in the region, combat reservists are often called upon to serve. Our aim in this paper is to investigate these soldiers’ transitions from their call up to their engagement in battle, and finally, to their return home. Our methods will be to use the narratives of twelve such soldiers. The central themes describe a deep conflict between collective versus individual cultural narratives that create dilemmas and stress at each of these stages of transition. The narrative framework and culturally contextualized, rather than trauma-related, focus of the findings shed new light on combat soldiers, self-defined stressors, and their relationship to specific socio-cultural contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-109
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Social Work Journal
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Combat
  • Combat soldiers
  • IDF
  • Israel
  • Military
  • Reserve forces
  • Transitions in the military

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