Team spirit makes the difference: the interactive effects of team work engagement and organizational constraints during a military operation on psychological outcomes afterwards

Stress Health. 2014 Dec;30(5):386-96. doi: 10.1002/smi.2621.


This article prospectively explores the effects of collective team work engagement and organizational constraints during military deployment on individual-level psychological outcomes afterwards. Participants were 971 Dutch peacekeepers within 93 teams who were deployed between the end of 2008 and beginning of 2010, for an average of 4 months, in the International Security Assistance Force. Surveys were administered 2 months into deployment and 6 months afterwards. Multi-level regression analyses demonstrated that team work engagement during deployment moderated the relation between organizational constraints and post-deployment fatigue symptoms. Team members reported less fatigue symptoms after deployment if they were part of highly engaged teams during deployment, particularly when concerns about organizational constraints during deployment were high. In contrast, low team work engagement was related to more fatigue symptoms, particularly when concerns about organizational constraints were high. Contrary to expectations, no effects for team work engagement or organizational constraints were found for post-traumatic growth. The present study highlights that investing in team work engagement is important for those working in highly demanding jobs.

Keywords: fatigue symptoms; longitudinal research; organizational constraints; post-traumatic growth; team work engagement.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Fatigue / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Surveys / methods*
  • Health Surveys / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Netherlands
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires