Trauma of War, Illusion of Growth

August 14, 2014 7:20 PM

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Trauma of War, Illusion of Growth

Back in 2009, the U.S. Army undertook a dramatic transformation of its own culture. The country had been at war for almost a decade, with many soldiers repeatedly deployed to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. The intense and cumulative stress of protracted conflict was taking a devastating toll -- reflected in high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, family problems, and an all-time high in suicides.

In response, the Army leadership embraced psychological science, especially some ideas of positive psychology that had previously been antithetical to the military's warrior ethos. The Army invested millions of dollars in the so-called Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program, focusing on the enh...

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