NAVAL MEDICAL RESEARCH INST BETHESDA MD
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A study was made to determine what happens when pairs of men are locked together around the clock that would not happen if they were merely fellow workers or roommates who went their own ways at night. Eighteen pairs of men--young sailors in boot training--were selected to meet certain conditions of compatibility, in order to determine how much of the stress of isolation could be relieved by properly matching personalities. They were tested and rated in four personality dimensions need for achievement need for dominance need for affiliation need for dogmatism. They were then matched in such a way that in one-third of the pairs both men were high in each of these dimensions, in one-third both were low, and in the final third one was high and one low. The control group, composed of similar pairs, followed the same work schedule in identical, confined rooms, but were not confined around the clock. The study demonstrates clearly that the stresses of isolation are considerably affected by the relations between personality types. Good adjustment may decrease or modify stress in constructive ways bad adjustment may increase, exaggerate, or complicate it, sometimes in destructive ways.