Indian army officers face higher stress levels than jawans: Study

The study pointed out that the main reason behind the stress were both operational and non-operational, which are avoidable and are resented against.

Published: 08th January 2021 07:28 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th January 2021 07:28 PM   |  A+A-

Indian Army

For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)


NEW DELHI: Observing that the continuous exposure to counter-terrorism operations has been contributing to the higher stress levels in the Indian Army, a study done by the United Services Institution of India (USI) suggests that the officers in the force face much more stress than what is faced by the jawans.

The USI study 'Prevailing Stress Levels in Indian Army due to Prolonged Exposure to Counter Insurgency/Counter Terrorism Environment" was done by Colonel Mor--an Army officer on study leave.

The study suggests that presently, more than half of the Army personnel seem to be under stress and the force has been losing more personnel every year due to suicides, fratricides and untoward incidents than in response to any enemy or terrorist activity.

The study pointed out that the main reason behind the stress were both operational and non-operational, which are avoidable and are resented against. The Indian Army rejected the findings made by the study saying the number of personnel who have been talked to or the sample survey is too minuscule to derive such conclusions and the morale of the troops is very high.

"Unsurprisingly, it is precisely these non-combat stressors that add on to the operational stressors and have compounding adverse effects on health and combat efficiency of soldiers and thus affecting their respective units too. The stress management measures, therefore, need to be focused towards mitigating organisational causes of non-operational stressors," the study said.

It added that despite the harsh and challenging service conditions, Indian Army personnel remain highly motivated to serve in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency areas voluntarily and "possess high confidence in the training, weapons and equipment provided." The study suggests that prolonged exposure to excessive stress has serious adverse effects on the health and efficiency of soldiers and combat units.

"Units and sub-units under stress are likely to witness an increased number of incidents of indiscipline, unsatisfactory state of training, inadequate maintenance of equipment and low morale, motivation, and esprit-de-corps, thereby, adversely affecting their combat preparedness and operational performance," it said.

It suggested that the "soldiers under stress need to be counseled, motivated, and dealt with empathy. Military leaders need to be capable of identifying the stressors and initiating appropriate actions at their level to mitigate the effects of stress."

The study lists "inadequacies in the quality of leadership, overburdened commitments, inadequate resources, frequent dislocations, lack of fairness and transparency in postings and promotions, down gradation in pay and status, zero error syndrome, inadequate promotional avenues, micromanagement, insufficient accommodation, and educational facilities, lack of motivation amongst juniors, non-grant of leave, indifferent attitude of civilian officials and short command tenures" as part of the organisational stressors among the officer cadre in the forces.

The study suggested that to address the stress levels in the force, the main focus should be on addressing the stress caused by the non-combat factor.


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