Living with a military-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD): a hermeneutic phenomenological study
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AbstractThe present study explored the phenomenon of living with military-related (M-R) Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). What it is like and what it means for the (M-R) traumatized person to live with PTSD in everyday living was the research question. The study follows the hermeneutic phenomenological methodology as developed by Max van Manen (1997). The study was conducted both in Canada and in Israel: Thirteen male military veterans, five Canadian former peacekeepers in Bosnia or Somalia (six to twelve years after traumas) and eight Israeli veterans who took part in Israel's wars and/or military operations (six to thirty six years after the traumas), participated in the study. Hermeneutic phenomenological interviewing was the study's main method for collecting lived-experience descriptions. With each of the Canadian participants, a two hour interview was conducted, and with each of the Israelis - one to seven hour interviewing, in one to three meetings. The interviews were taped, transcribed, and translated (if necessary). Phenomenological thematic reflection as a way to uncover the meaningdimensions of the phenomenon was done by researcher, sometimes in collaboration with the participants. Etymological reflection was another method used to disclose the meaning of the phenomenon. A line-by-line thematic analysis of the lived experience descriptions was done, as well as a wholistic approach. Four major themes emerged from the inquiry: trauma remembering, the encounter with death, being hypervigilant in an unsafe world, and being another to oneself and others. It is hoped that the research will contribute to mental health care of (M-R) traumatized persons, as well as to a better understanding of the phenomenon in society at large.
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