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April 8, 1974

Psychiatry in Military Services

JAMA. 1974;228(2):203-204. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230270047028

Back-to-back articles in the March issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, explore the psychosocial perspective of first-termers in the armed services and an ethical dilemma for military psychiatrists.1,2 Mirin,1 the author of the first article, spent a year as a member of a multidisciplinary "assistance team" attached to USAF Headquarters and having two officers each from the Medical Corps (psychiatry), the Staff Judge Advocate Office, the Chaplaincy, the Office of Information, and the Directorate of Personnel. Since the team operated as a mobile consulting service worldwide, Mirin had abundant opportunity to observe actions and activities at dozens of military installations.

Mirin notes that the young, low-ranking, enlisted men are most likely to fail in adjustment to military life. On that point, he quotes Friedman.3

Their backgrounds include broken homes, poverty and emotional... deprivation.... There are usually gross signs of poor adjustment prior to entry in the military....