NHRC Update, Issue No.8
NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER SAN DIEGO CA
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Military basic training is a major transition period for most recruits, and it occurs at a time when the typical l7-to-20 year old recruit is in an important personality development phase. Therefore, attitudes and behaviors instilled during this transition from civilian to sailor or marine may influence the individuals behavior during his or her military service and in civilian society after leaving the service. Given that more than 100,000 young people go through military basic training every year even with recent downsizing trends for the military services, any effect of basic training on personality development has substantial implications for both the military and society. In a study supported by the Office of Naval Research, Dr. Vickers, Ms. Hervig, and Ms. Paxton of the Naval Health Research Center, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Minnesota, assessed the impact of basic training on personality. In general, these researchers found that basic training changes personality in a positive direction. Compared to entering Navy recruits, graduating recruits are less prone to negative emotions, such as depression and anger, and less susceptible to stress.