(AFP) – A survey of US soldiers in Afghanistan shows declining morale among army units and that troops facing three or more combat tours have higher rates of mental health and marital problems, the US Army said Friday.
A similar assessment of soldiers in Iraq this year showed a lower number of psychological problems compared to previous years, as violence levels there fall, the army said.
The findings came as President Barack Obama weighs whether to send additional forces to Afghanistan and amid a renewed focus on the mental fitness of troops after a deadly shooting rampage last week by an army psychiatrist at Fort Hood in Texas.
Only 5.7 percent of soldiers surveyed in Afghanistan rated morale for their units as high or very high, compared to 10.2 percent in 2007, according to the assessment.
But soldiers were more positive about their personal morale, with 17.6 percent saying their own morale was high or very high compared to 15.4 percent two years ago.
Soldiers in Afghanistan who had gone through three or more deployments were “significantly more likely to meet the criteria for a psychological problem” than those on their first and second deployment, the report said....