Why we need military psychiatrists: 20th century U.S. Military psychiatry and proposal for the future

Robert Roy Ireland, John Michael Bostwick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Scopus citations


Military psychiatrists perform distinct military functions that contribute substantially to effective troop performance and cohesion. Three historic approaches to combat psychiatry and the limitations of these approaches are described. A new model is proposed in which military psychiatrists, during war, treat psychiatric casualties by combining lessons learned from past wars with current concepts of deployed medical operations and clinical psychiatry. In peacetime, through their pro-active undertakings, military psychiatrists sustain capabilities to perform combat operations and operations other than war. And finally, military psychiatrists are situated best to deal with specific cross-cultural factors that affect military life. Thus, military psychiatry is a unique mission requiring specialized skills and perspectives. It is optimally practiced by those committed to military life and supportive of its missions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-282
Number of pages5
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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