Ren as a Guideline for Solving Military Medical Ethics Violations in S.E.R.E.




Diaz, Chloe

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric disorder triggered by traumatic events, is characterized by a range of symptoms that vary in severity, including: repeated, involuntary memories, ongoing fear, mistrust of others, irritability, lack of sleep, detachment, etc. (American Psychiatric Association). While PTSD affects nearly 11 million American adults, members of the military are especially at risk of developing PTSD due to increased opportunities for exposure to trauma in combat (APA, NIH MedlinePlus). In fact, as many as 21% of Iraqi war veterans are affected by PTSD (NIH MedlinePlus). Evidently, PTSD is a widespread issue within all branches of the military. To remedy the high risk of PTSD that military personnel are subjected to, James Rowe, a U.S. Army member and Vietnam prisoner of war, developed Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) training. During the Resistance portion of SERE, military personnel are subjected to stress inoculating environments prior to deployment in order to build their stress resilience— a key contributor to preventing PTSD (Taylor & Schatz). In order to create a stress inoculating environment, military personnel are tortured in mock prisoner-of-war camps. However, recent evidence challenges the effectiveness of this program. A lack of objective stress measures, absence of standard training guidelines, deficient evaluation in non-clinical environments, and inadequate repeated acute stress measurement all contribute to the questionable effectiveness of the Resistance program. In fact, in personal anecdotes and government documents filing lawsuit against the military, participants claim that Resistance training induced PTSD rather than prevented it.



military training, SERE, confucian ethics, medical ethics, bioethics, military medical ethics, Honors College


Diaz, C. (2019). Ren as a guideline for solving military medical ethics violations in S.E.R.E. (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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