Mind over matter: Non-cognitive assessments for the selection of the Swedish voluntary soldier of peace
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
The purpose of this thesis was firstly, to investigate if the current selection system mirrors the task of international deployment and voluntariness. Secondly, to investigate if and how non-cognitive assessments of personality and resilience, individual aspects that seem underrepresented in the current selection system, may increment validity to the current selection system. Since 2012 the Swedish Armed Forces is an All-volunteer Force where young men and women voluntarily can apply for a military service. In contrast to conscription, military service today includes compulsory international deployments with different demands on the personnel’s range of possible abilities and skills as well as selection process—yet the current selection system may not sufficiently correspond to the changes.
The thesis comprises four studies (Study I-IV) with relevant military samples, and aside from Study I, a validation of a short version personality questionnaire (PQ) being used in two of the subsequent studies, Study II-IV had a longitudinal design. Study II shows that the former selection system lacked prognostic value of soldiers’ performance during international deployment, and their ability to readjust at homecoming. Additionally, Study II shows that non-cognitive assessments can be used as predictors for readjustment. Study III indicates that international deployment does not need to be harmful for the psychological well-being and that good health seems to be a stable factor across time and situations. Thus, selection of “good health” and resilience may prove fruitful. Study IV suggests that high motivation to serve may have serious consequences for selection decisions and, in the long run, the recruits’ psychological well-being.
In sum, this thesis suggests that the current selection system needs adaption to the task of repeated international deployments and to the voluntary applicant pool, and that non-cognitive assessment may increment validity.
Since the end of the Cold War the Swedish Armed Forces has undergone several changes regarding both task and personnel system. The task of national security does not only entail territorial defense but also international operations worldwide. In addition, the soldiers are no longer conscripts but young men and women who have volunteered to secure and uphold peace and democratic values.
The purpose of this thesis was twofold: firstly, to investigate if the current selection system mirrors the recent refocus on international operations and voluntariness; secondly, to see if and how non-cognitive assessments of personality, health, and resilience increment validity to the current selection system in identifying individuals suitable for repeated international deployments. This work was guided by a series of tentative questions regarding both the selection system in particular, but also international deployments in general.
The four papers in this thesis suggest that the current selection system need to be adapted to better correspond to repeated international deployments as well as to a voluntary applicant pool; and that non-cognitive assessments of personality, health, and resilience increment validity to the selection system.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad University Press, 2015. , 113 p.
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2015:46
personnel selection, personality, resilience, validation, military, international operations
Research subject Psychology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-37934ISBN: 978-91-7063-664-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-37934DiVA: diva2:853442
2015-11-13, Lagerlöfsalen, 1A 305, 10:00 (Swedish)
Michel, Per-Olov, Psykiatriker, docent i psykologi
Almkvist, Kjerstin, ProfessorWästlund, Erik, Filosofie doktorSjöberg, Lennart, Professor emeritus
List of papers