Post-deployment Social Support Predicting Successful Adjustment among Nigerian Military Returnees from Boko-Haram Insurgency
Received Date: June 13, 2019; Published Date: June 28, 2019
GReturning from combat deployment can be a very turbulent moment for military combatants, especially when there is prolonged stay that unavoidably bring about long detachment from the society. Upon homecoming, military personnel may find it difficult to fully adjust and achieve effective societal integration, thus affecting family relationship, robust social interaction and productivity. However, existing studies have focused more on the psychological effects of war, as a result, little is known about the role that social support play in post-deployment adjustment of military personnel upon return from combat operations. This study therefore, examined the role of post-deployment social support in post-war adjustment among Nigerian military personnel exposed to Boko-Haram insurgency. Data were collected using standardized questionnaires on a sample of 322 participants. Three hypotheses were stated and analyzed using Pearson correlation and hierarchical multiple regression, and results on hypothesis one revealed a significant negative relationship between combat exposure and post-deployment social adjustment(r= -.37;p<.05), while post-deployment social support was positively associated with post-deployment social adjustment(r= .44;p<.01).Additional findings indicated a significant joint influence of combat exposure and post-deployment social support on adjustment [F(2,317 ) =29.838;R2=.27; p<.01].Result also indicated a significant interaction between Post-deployment social support and combat exposure on adjustment [ΔR2=.29, F (1, 316) =.26.16; p<.01; β= -.15, t= -2.93]. Participants who experienced combat events but had high post-deployment social support reported better adjustment( x̅ =116.47) compared to those who reported low support( x̅ =110.32). This shows that increased combat exposure could lead to poor adjustment, but providing instrumental and emotional support to the veterans after homecoming could buffer the effect of combat and increase their ability to swiftly adapt and integrate fully into the society. Therefore, Nigerian military authority, colleagues and friends of the personnel should always provide sufficient and timely support to soldiers and officers who are returning from combat operations to ensure better adjustment to the society for improved social, family and work-place performance.
Keywords: Combat exposure, post-deployment adjustment, military personnel.