Development of Courage in Military Personnel in Training and Performance in Combat Situations
Final technical rept. for period ending Jan 1982
LONDON UNIV (UNITED KINGDOM) INST OF PSYCHIATRY
Pagination or Media Count:
In order to investigate the components of courage, studies were carried out on military bomb-disposal operators. Psychometric results showed that the operators were a particularly stable and well-adjusted group of people, but neither the test results for the associated interviews provided a basis for predicting performance under combat conditions. The specialized training given to prepare soldiers for these duties was found to produce large and valuable psychological changes that accord well with Banduras self-efficacy theory. Performance under combat conditions was highly competent and was rarely accompanied or followed by significant emotional or psychological problems. Most operators reported satisfaction with their tour of duty. Operators who had received decorations for gallantry performed as well as their nondecorated but equally competent colleagues, but showed lower physiological responsiveness. This result is in keeping with our finding that decorated operators differed on some psychometric features from their nondecorated colleagues. It was concluded that training and small-group support make important contributions to courageous performance, and, in addition, there may be a small number of people who are constitutionally capable of coping with high levels of stress.
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