President's Welcome

Welcome to the Society for Military Psychology website. As one of the founding charter divisions of the American Psychological Association (APA), Div. 19 members represent a proud tradition of advancing the profession of psychology. We have an exciting, dedicated and diverse membership composed of psychologists and social scientists; military (active duty, reserve component and retired); Department of Defense and interagency civilians; and professors and practitioners, all of whom are working in professionally rewarding (and at times challenging) environments. Our members work in private practice settings and academic, research, clinical, military, operational and international settings. We are fortunate to have an active and motivated student membership that helps keep our division filled with energy, innovation and momentum as we expand and grow our membership and our interests.

Our members are united and share a common interest — to advance and further the professional and scientific knowledge related to military psychology. Indeed, our Div. 19 members make contributions in every specialty area recognized by APA. We are proud of our Div. 19 members and of the manner they advance and help preserve the safety and security of our nation and our citizens. Our society achieves that vision with a threefold mission:

  1. Advance the science and practice of psychology within military organizations. 
  2. Foster professional development of psychologists and other professionals interested in the psychological study of the military through education, research and training. 
  3. Supporting efforts to disseminate and apply scientific knowledge and state of the art advances in areas relevant to military psychology. 

Our values reflect the importance of recognizing that foundation within our profession and our identity. To that end, we place great value on engaging and educating our profession and the society we serve with a scientifically based and ethical practice that is informed by education and research to advance the psychological study of the military and related organizations

I want to personally thank you for your interest in our division and hope that you will consider joining us in our dedication and commitment as a society. On behalf of all our members and the Div. 19 leadership team, I wish you a very rewarding and professionally fulfilling 2015.

Tom Williams, PhD 
President, Society for Military Psychology 

Get Involved

Membership is open to professionals and students with an interest in the goals and mission of the Division. Division 19 currently has the following categories: Fellow, Member, Affiliate, International Affiliate, and Student Affiliate.

Military Psychology Journal RSS Feed

Killing versus witnessing trauma: Implications for the development of PTSD in combat medics.

Killing in combat uniquely predicts elevated PTSD symptomatology among military veterans. This study investigated the effects of combat killing in a sample of 345 U.S. Army combat medics who had recently returned from operational deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan. Combat medics provide frontline medical care before, during, and after battles but also fight alongside other soldiers when under attack. Attempting to kill in combat was a significant predictor of PTSD symptomatology even after accounting for passively witnessing trauma in fellow soldiers. Medics may be well prepared to cope with the passive experiencing and witnessing of war-zone trauma, but may benefit from training to cope with the negative consequences of taking actions to kill. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved) 

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Functional impairment as a variable in adjustment post-combat.

This study examined how functional impairment relates to postcombat adjustment over time, controlling for the influence of combat exposure. Analyses used sequential random coefficient models to examine 2 hypotheses: a) combat exposure and functional impairment predict the change in posttraumatic stress, depression, and anger/aggression symptoms during the first year postcombat; and b) combat exposure and functional impairment at reintegration predict symptom scores at 1 year postdeployment. A Brigade Combat Team completed surveys at reintegration, 4 months, and 12 months after a 1-year deployment to Iraq. Soldiers reporting high functional impairment at reintegration had higher symptoms at both follow-up periods, and functional impairment was a significant predictor of symptoms at the last time point, even after accounting for the influence of combat exposure. There was also an interaction effect, such that functional impairment exacerbated the impact of combat exposure on posttraumatic stress and anger/aggression symptoms at 12 months postdeployment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)                         

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Confidentiality and mental health/chaplaincy collaboration.

Confidentiality can both facilitate and inhibit working relationships of chaplains and mental health professionals addressing the needs of service members and veterans in the United States. Researchers conducted this study to examine opportunities for improving integration of care within the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Interviews were conducted with 198 chaplains and 201 mental health professionals in 33 DoD and VA facilities. Using a blended qualitative research approach, researchers identified several themes from the interviews, including recognition that integration can improve services; chaplaincy confidentiality can facilitate help seeking behavior; and mental health and chaplain confidentiality can inhibit information sharing and active participation on interdisciplinary teams. Cross-disciplinary training on confidentiality requirements and developing policies for sharing information across disciplines is recommended to address barriers to integrated service delivery. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved) 

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