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   2012, Vol. 44 Issue (2) : 226-236     DOI:
Changes in Mental Health of Members of the Chinese Army (1990~2007):A Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis
YI Xin-Fa;ZHAO Qian;CAI Shu-Shan
(1 Center for Teacher Professional Ability Development, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710062, China)
(2 School of Psychology, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710062, China)
(3 Department of Psychology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China)
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Abstract  Many studies have been conducted to measure the mental health status of members of the Chinese Army. However, empirical research on the topic has yielded few consistent results. Some studies have found that Chinese Army members have poor mental health status, and others provide evidence that soldiers’ mental health is positive. The main issue we addressed in this study was the development of the mental health of Chinese Army members over the past two decades. This time period is significant because it has been a relatively peaceful time for China, and soldiers during this period are increasingly products of the single-child family policies. Are there significant differences on mental health between soldiers from single-child families and multiple-child families? We also explored differences in the mental health of soldiers from urban and rural areas and soldiers with different levels of education.
Typically, traditional meta-analysis methods are used to examine the effect size of homogenous studies on a specific topic. But there are typically large variances in effect sizes in studies published across a number of years, an issue which has not been ideally resolved in the field of psychology. The cross-temporal meta-analysis method used in this study was developed by Twenge and introduced into China by Xin. This method was applied to examine the changing process of certain psychological factors, such as mental health, coping style, learning anxiety, and self-esteem.
Cross-temporal meta-analysis was applied to examine the changes in mental health of members of the Chinese Army from 1990 to 2007. Ninety-four published studies of mental health of members of the Chinese Army (N = 108,736) were included. In these studies, the Symptom Checklist 90 (SCL-90) was used to assess the mental health of the soldiers. The means and SDs of nine dimensions of SCL-90 during 18 years were gathered and compared.
Results and conclusions showed that: (1) Mental health of members of the Chinese Army steadily improved between 1990 and 2007; (2) During those 18 years, the Interpersonal Sensitivity factor of SCL-90 of Chinese Army members changed most significantly, and the least significantly changed factor was Somatization; (3) Chinese Army members showed evidence of fewest problems on the Photic Anxiety factor, in contrast to the consistent problems indicated by scores on the Obsessive-Compulsive and Interpersonal Sensitivity scales; (4) Chinese Army members from single-child families (N = 1,944) showed significant lower evidence of positive mental health than soldiers from multiple child families (N = 2,649); (5) The mental health of soldiers from non-agricultural backgrounds (N = 7,808) was less positive than that of soldiers from agricultural household (N = 11,459); (6) Chinese Army members with senior high school education level (N = 10,189) had less positive mental health than those with junior high school (N = 8,407) or university education (N = 863).
Keywords Chinese Army members      mental health      SCL-90      cross-temporal meta-analysis     
Corresponding Authors: YI Xin-Fa   
Issue Date: 28 February 2012
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YI Xin-Fa,ZHAO Qian,CAI Shu-Shan. Changes in Mental Health of Members of the Chinese Army (1990~2007):A Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis[J]. , 2012, 44(2): 226-236.
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