Stress Zones, Online Faculty, & PTSD

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Slides for panel presentation at the 2009 Sloan ALN Conference. Presents information regarding the definition and symptoms of PTSD and the potential impact on online educators. Also presents data …

Slides for panel presentation at the 2009 Sloan ALN Conference. Presents information regarding the definition and symptoms of PTSD and the potential impact on online educators. Also presents data from a 2009 survey of online faculty capturing information about their experiences and their students' experiences in hig-stress situations.

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  • 'Stress Zones, Online Faculty, & PTSD'
    This panel presentation explores PTSD from the perspective of the online education who may encounter students with this condition. Includes clinical definition and symptoms of PTSD as well as data from a 2009 survey of online faculty who report their own experiences with high stress environments as well as their encounters with students who work or serve militarily in high stress environments.
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  • 1. Stress Zones, Online Faculty, & PTSD
    Preliminary Survey, 2009
    Fred Stielow, Ph.D.
    John D. Moore, Ph.D.
    Carol Passman, Ph.D.
    Philip McNair, U.S. Army (ret)
  • 2. Meet the Panel
    Introduction: Dr. Fred Stielow
    Defining & Exploring PTSD: Dr. John Moore
    AMU Faculty Survey Results: Dr. Carol Passman
    Thoughts & Discussion: COL Phil McNair
  • 3. Professors:
    I wanted to thank you for your assistance during my enrollment at AMU … You really showed me how great a professor you can be during times when education is taking a back seat. I recently completed, what was once a fast-burning run through life… In Dec 08 as I was diagnosed with PTSD. Since returning from my 8 month tour in Iraq in Dec 07…. Without complaint you stepped in and helped me complete my entire academic plan … I greatly appreciate your extreme display of concern and understanding while enrolled in your class. I did not expect the support I received; yet it has gotten me where I am today.
    Excerpted Student Comment, 09/2009
  • 4. Introduction
    Memoriam: Andrew Baggs, Ph.D., USN (ret)
    Frequency study of faculty awareness of students in high stress areas and dangerous events
    Follow-up/Implications for further study- Can study in online universities while in high stress zones ameliorate the subsequent onset of PTSD?- Or facilitate reintegration into society?- Given onset of GI-Bill students in traditional schools, do online instructors have PTSD practices to share?- How do the frameworks of online and land-based universities differ in terms of students with PTSD?
  • 5. John D. Moore, Ph.D.
    Defining and Exploring PTSD
    in an
    Online Educational Environment
  • 6.
    • The Syndrome
    • 7. Diagnostic Criterion
    • 8. Impact on the Student
    • 9. Impact on the Educator
    A. PTSD in Broader Context
  • 10.
    • PTSD is the acronym for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
    • 11. PTSD is a qualified psychiatric condition that appears in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
    • 12. PTSD is different than a person experiencing normal “Stress”
    What is PTSD?
  • 13. Irritable
    Unable to
    fall asleep
    Easily
    Startled
    Problems
    With
    Focus
    Hyper
    Increased
    Substance
    Use
    Angry
    Outbursts
    PTSD = Increased Agitation
  • 14. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
    DSM IV Diagnostics
    Criterion A. The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:
    1.Person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others
    Person's response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.
  • 15. PTSD—DSM IV Diagnostics, Continued, 1
    Criterion B. The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in one (or more) of the following:
    recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions.
    recurrent distressing dreams of the event. acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations & dissociative flash-back episodes, including those that occur awakening or intoxicated).
    intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event
    physiological reactivity on exposure to internal or externalcues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of traumatic event
  • 16. PTSD—DSM IV Diagnostics, Continued, 2
    Criterion C. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma), as indicated by three (or more):
    efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma
    efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma
    inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma
    markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
    feeling of detachment or estrangement from others
    restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings)
    sense of a foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span)
  • 17. PTSD—DSM IV Diagnostics, Continued, 3
    Criterion D: “Hyperarousal responses" (two or more of the following)
    difficulty falling or staying asleep
    irritability or outbursts of anger
    difficulty concentrating
    Hypervigilance
    exaggerated startle response
    Criterion E: Duration of more than one month
    Criterion F: Distress or impairment to functioning
  • 18. B. Psychological Pathways
    1
    Impact of PTSD
    2
    Impact of PTSD on E-Educators
    3
    Vicarious Trauma
  • 19. IMPACT OF
    PTSD ON LEARNERS
    Loved Ones
    The PTSD Learner
  • PTSD WHEEL OF STRESS
    Worried about Future
    Feeling Helpless
    ExtraResponsibilities
    Lack of Contact
    Family
    Experience
    Title
    Routines Disrupted
    New Family Roles
  • 34. PTSD = FAMILY IN CRISIS
    PTSD
    Student
    Loved
    Ones
    Children
    CRISIS
    CRISIS
    CRISIS
  • 35. How does PTSD Impact E-educators?
    E-Educators
    Student Outbursts
    Confusion/Distraction
    Vicarious Trauma
    Online Institution
  • 36. Student Outbursts
    Students who may be living with PTSD can sometimes present as irritable, uncooperative or disengaged in the classroom.
    Using the psychological concept of displacement, students will sometimes “rage” against a faculty member or other student in moments of high stress, anxiety or depression.
  • 37. Confusion for E-faculty
    When a students discloses that he or she has been through a traumatic event or perhaps previously diagnosed with PTSD, this can sometimes cause confusion for the e-educator.
    In brick and mortar institutions, there is often an ability to refer the student to a student counseling center. This is generally not the case for online institutions, leaving the e-educator asking the question:
    What can I do to help?
  • 38. Vicarious Trauma
    Vicarious Trauma (aka: secondary trauma) occurs whenever a person is exposed to a first hand account of a traumatic event by another person. An example of this might be a faculty member being told by a student that he or she was involved in a life threatening incident. Over the course of time, these kinds of repeated exposures to secondary trauma can have a negative impact on the individual.
    EACH TIME A FACULTY MEMBER IS EXPOSED TO PAINFUL MATERIAL THAT FACULTY MEMBER EXPERIENCES VICARIOUS TRAUMA
  • 39. Vicarious Trauma
    Irritable
    Sleep
    Problems
    Fatigue
    Problems
    With
    Focus
    Burnout
    Increased
    Substance
    Use
    Feeling
    Drained
    Vicarious Trauma
  • 40. Faculty Awareness of Students in High Stress Situations & Events
    Survey Overview
    Carol Passman, Ph.D.
  • 41. Survey Background
    Run Dates: Aug 18th – Sep 8th, 2009
    Subjects: APUS (American Military University & American Public University) Faculty
    Response Rate: 465 of 845 = 55% response rate
  • 42. A. Faculty Demographics
    Online Teaching Experience
  • 43. Other Experience/Areas Served*
    * Multiple responses allowed
    ** Other category included CIA, Civilian Military Employee, DEA, Government Contractor, Homeland Security, Defense Analyst, Military Spouse, TSA…
  • 44. Involvement in Dangerous Situations
  • 45. B. Awareness of Students in High Stress Settings
  • 46. Timing of Awareness
  • 47. How Did Faculty Become Aware of High Stress Occupational Settings
  • 48. C. Awareness of Students in Dangerous Encounters
  • 49. Timing of Awareness of Dangerous Encounters
  • 50. D. Faculty/Student Interactions
    Student in-class discussions on such situations
    Student comment to faculty on dangerous situations
  • 51. Summary- Phil McNair
    But first – 2 brief anecdotes
    What we know:- Some percentage of students have PTSD- PTSD can affect student behavior
    What we don’t:- Who those students are- What online faculty are supposed to do- The impact of online learning on students with PTSD
  • 52. Thoughts? Comments?
    We welcome your input as we think about the implications of this for further study and research. Want to join us?
    Fred Stielow: fstielow@apus.edu
    Phil McNair: pmcnair@apus.edu