Date of Conferral
Researchers and military organizations have defined military conflicts as being fought in two principal combat environments, namely, close proximity, or the proximal combat environment, and distant proximity, or the distal combat environment. This study used Gal and Jones's psychological model of combat stress as the theoretical framework. The study also used Merriam's generic interpretative qualitative research method, including open-ended interviewing and document review, to obtain data. The study used inductive thematic analysis to analyze the narratives of 10 distal combat veterans who were recruited for the study. The research questions were designed to identify the characteristics of distal combat and the personal narratives of distal combat veterans. The study also was an exploration of the emotional, psychological, behavioral, and physical reactions of distal combat veterans to the onset of combat stress and the type of coping strategies that they used in the face of such challenges. Potential social change implications of the study are that it elucidated current understanding of the psychological consequences of distal combat and identified factors that can help combat soldiers and veterans to develop resiliency to distal combat stress. Given the gap in the combat literature regarding distal combat stress, conducting this study adds to knowledge of the ways in which combat stress affects distal combat veterans during operations.