- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A new poll finds active-duty and veterans populations of the American military are more “emotionally resilient” than their civilian counterparts.

Gallup analyzed well-being, such as levels of stress and worry, and found 46 percent of civilians aged 18 to 44 experience stress daily — on par with 46 percent of discharged veterans, 42 percent of retired veterans and 39 percent of active-duty service members.

Some said the results come as no surprise, because the military braces members to face adversity.

“What do I have to worry about back in the civilian world? A missed report, a client I failed to sign? The penalties for failure to perform in combat are far more severe,” said Gallup senior consultant David Goldich, a discharged veteran who served two tours in Iraq. “The military experience is defined by resilience. Your fellow troops are counting on you to perform under pressure at all times. Quitting is not an option.”

The pollsters say the bottom line is that while veterans face “very serious unique mental health challenges,” it is not the experience of the veteran community as a whole, which is faring better than working civilians in emotional well-being.

The Department of Veterans Affairs — a beleaguered agency of late — said about 7 percent of civilians experience post-traumatic stress disorder in their lifetime, compared to 11 percent to 20 percent of veterans who served in the early years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“On the whole, however, veterans appear more emotionally resilient than the general civilian population,” Gallup said. “As the nation works to find employment for returning veterans after two wars, it’s important not to view veterans as emotionally scarred or damaged. They are, in fact, a lot more emotionally sound than those who have never served.”