Occupationalstress in the armed forces: An Indian army perspective

Thisarticle was authored by Sharma, Shakshi. The purpose of the study wasto examine the factors that influence occupational stress of theIndian soldiers. Appropriateness of the scale used to measureoccupational stressors was also evaluated in the study. Anotherobjective of the study was to determine the strategies that can beused to reduce occupational stress among the Indian soldiers,considering the outcomes or results of the study (Sharma, 2015).

TheExploratory Factor Analysis indicated that major occupationalstressors among Indian Army include organisational attitude,workload, lack of sufficient awareness about the profession, lack ofworkplace control, and role conflict at the workplace. ConfirmatoryFactor Analysis was also carried out, and it confirmed the eightfactors influencing occupational stress among the army. The studyalso recommended that commitment-based management technique should beimplemented to reduce occupational stress (Sharma, 2015).

Themethod used in this study was a structured interview of 415 soldierswho provided primary data for the study. The soldiers selected werethose who operated in sensitive parts of the country. The samplingmethod was a random sampling method in which the combat arms,combat-support arms, and services arms were selected randomly from apopulation of soldiers operating in sensitive areas within India.Soldiers below the commissioned officer by rank were selected becausethey have been reported in the past to be the most affected bysuicide. A 5-point Likert scale was used to measure occupationalstress among the participants. It had 47 items at first, but theywere later reduced to 32 due to the results of factor analysiscarried after the first schedule. Cronbach’s alpha for the studywas measured as 0.94 (Sharma, 2015).

Inthe results section, the article suggests that the data of the studywas purified by applying factor analysis on the 47 items of themeasurement scale, using the varimax rotation method. From theanalysis, nine factors were found to be occupational stressors forthe Indian army. First, ineffective leadership style influencesoccupational stress in Indian army. The results showed that theleadership style used in the army creates normal stress asillustrated by Barahmand and Hozoori (2013). Secondly, the studyfound out that employees stress is positively related to lack ofcooperation in the army. The factor of unsupportive colleagues scored3.2 out of 5. Thirdly, inadequate training scored 2.89 which indicatethat this factor results in normal stress. The fourth factor wasinadequate awareness which scored 3.99, indicating that inadequacy ofawareness about the profession causes distress in the army. Workloadscored 3.96 while lack of work control scored 4.26 which also showedthat workload and lack of control contribute to stress among thesoldiers (Serec et al, 2012). Other factors which contribute tooccupational stress in the study include: role ambiguity, and roleconflict which also contribute positively to the occupational stressof Indian army (Sharma, 2015).

Indiscussion part, the article suggests that the government of Indiashould attempt to curb the problem of occupational stress among itsarmy by employing psychiatrists, holding discussions with theMinistry of Defence, initiating occupation therapies, and building anorganizational culture that supports the army and encouragescollaboration/cooperation among the army and other stakeholders.Furthermore, the article suggests that commitment-based managementtechniques should be implemented to reduce communication gap andencourage good working relationship at the workplace (Sharma, 2015).


Barahmand,U. and Hozoori, R. (2013). A Study of Alexithymia and DissociativeExperiences in Soldiers and Male University Students. Socialand Behavioral Sciences,84(9), 165–170

Serec,M., Bajec, B., Petek, D., Švab, I., &amp Selič, P. (2012). Astructural model of burnout syndrome, coping behavior and personalitytraits in professional soldiers of the Slovene armed forces. MedicalJournal, 81,326-336.

Sharma,S. (2015). Occupational stress in the armed forces: An Indian armyperspective. IIMBManagement Review,27 (3), 185-195.