Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Psychology

Committee Member

Dr. Thomas W. Britt, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Cynthia Pury

Committee Member

Dr. Patrick Rosopa


Engaging in firefights or witnessing death and other types of combat experiencesare occupational hazards associated with combat exposure facing military personnel. Thepresent study examined whether savoring beliefs moderate the relationship betweencombat exposure and negative mental health symptoms among U.S. Army soldiersdeployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).Soldiers (N = 885) deployed on at least one combat operation completed a measure ofcombat exposure, savoring beliefs, depression and PTSD at two time periods separatedby five months. Correlational and multiple regression analyses were conducted to assessthe relationship between variables and for the moderating effect of savoring. Savoringwas found to be negatively related to symptoms of depression and PTSD, as well as actedas a buffer between combat exposure and depression and PTSD among militarypersonnel, for the larger Time 1 sample. However, the moderating effects were notobtained with the smaller matched sample. These findings demonstrate that savoringpositive life experiences may be beneficial to overall positive mental health by increasingones ability to experience and maintain enjoyment in the short term, while also bufferingnegative mental health symptoms related to traumatic experiences.



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