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Mind over matter: Non-cognitive assessments for the selection of the Swedish voluntary soldier of peace
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8744-0425
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

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.

Abstract [en]

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.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2015:46
Keyword [en]
personnel selection, personality, resilience, validation, military, international operations
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-37934ISBN: 978-91-7063-664-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-37934DiVA: diva2:853442
Public defence
2015-11-13, Lagerlöfsalen, 1A 305, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-10-21 Created: 2015-09-14 Last updated: 2015-10-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. A construct validation of a profession-focused personality questionnaire (PQ) versus the SIMP and the FFPI
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A construct validation of a profession-focused personality questionnaire (PQ) versus the SIMP and the FFPI
2010 (English)In: European Journal of Psychological Assessment, ISSN 1015-5759, E-ISSN 2151-2426, Vol. 26, no 2, 136-142 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study is a construct validation of a profession-focussed personality questionnaire (PQ), based on the Big Five, and developed for a military population and context. The sample (N = 363) consisted of participants selected for international services in the Swedish Armed Forces. The structure of the PQ was modelled by means of confirmatory factor analysis, and its convergent validity was tested against the FFPI (A. A. J. Hendricks, K. B. W. Hofstee, & B. de Raad, 1999, 2000) and the SIMP (S. A. Woods & S. E. Hampson, 2005) as correlations. The emergent structure of the PQ - 41 items and seven aspects - showed good internal consistency, and acceptable convergent validity with both criterion instruments. The only non-convergence was found between the Agreeableness aspect of the PQ, Concern for Others, and Agreeableness of the SIMP, most likely due to the broader SIMP factor. The structure of PQ was tested on a new sample (N = 274) and was found stable regarding the factor loadings and the relations between the factors. While the PQ needs to be investigated further, it seems as if it may become a useful tool in the research of military teams and contexts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hogrefe & Huber Publishers, 2010
Keyword
personality, Big Five, construct validity, profession-focused questionnaire, military
National Category
Applied Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-13582 (URN)10.1027/1015-5759/a000019 (DOI)
Projects
Rekrytering och urval till Försvarsmakten
Available from: 2012-06-12 Created: 2012-06-12 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
2. Military capacity and Civil adjustment: Assessments of the "re-usable" peacekeeping soldier for development of a selection system
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Military capacity and Civil adjustment: Assessments of the "re-usable" peacekeeping soldier for development of a selection system
2012 (English)In: International Journal of Selection and Assessment, ISSN 0965-075X, E-ISSN 1468-2389, Vol. 20, no 2, 171-181 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study investigated whether “re-usable” soldiers, that is, those who performed well during operations (Military capacity), and were able to readjust post-deployment (Civil adjustment), could be identified pre-deployment. Participants were 364 UN peacekeeping soldiers. Three hypotheses were posed: (a) the selection system for conscripts cannot identify soldiers with low Military capacity, (b) the selection system for conscripts cannot identify soldiers with poor Civil adjustment after deployment, and (c) the two aspects of “re-usability” (Military Capacity and Civil Adjustment) would be intertwined. Results showed that the selection system for conscripts was unable to identify soldiers’ Military Capacity and Civil Adjustment. Results also showed that these two aspects were unrelated, and did not interact. Indications on possible consequences, and improvements were discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Blackwell Publishing, 2012
Keyword
selection, individual characteristics, performance, readjustment, peacekeeping
National Category
Applied Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-13578 (URN)10.1111/j.1468-2389.2012.00590.x (DOI)000304138100005 ()
Projects
Rekrytering och urval till Försvarsmakten
Available from: 2012-06-12 Created: 2012-06-12 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
3. Improved resilience and well-being in a Swedish Naval Force after a counter piracy operation off the coast of Somalia
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Improved resilience and well-being in a Swedish Naval Force after a counter piracy operation off the coast of Somalia
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keyword
resilience, well-being, international operations, military, psychological health
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-37905 (URN)
Available from: 2015-09-10 Created: 2015-09-10 Last updated: 2015-10-21Bibliographically approved
4. A comparison of applicants' and incumbents' mean scores on health constructs and personality constructs.: A follow-up study of military recruits in a selection setting
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A comparison of applicants' and incumbents' mean scores on health constructs and personality constructs.: A follow-up study of military recruits in a selection setting
2015 (English)In: International Journal of Selection and Assessment, ISSN 0965-075X, E-ISSN 1468-2389, Vol. 23, no 2, 120-130 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study looked at the effects of self-enhancement in a real recruitment setting, and included both personality constructs, and the more infrequently studied, health constructs. The participants (N = 202) were assessed first as applicants, and later as incumbents. The result revealed that self-enhancement was more ubiquitous on the personality constructs than on the health constructs. However, the effect sizes were stronger for the latter, and it was twice as likely for the participants to confirm having experienced previous traumatic/stressful events as incumbents compared to as applicants. Implications for self-enhancement on personality and health constructs in military recruitment situations are discussed. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford, UK: John Wiley & Sons, 2015
Keyword
self-enhancement, health constructs, personality constructs, military, applicant setting
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-37904 (URN)10.1111/ijsa.12101 (DOI)000353957200003 ()
Available from: 2015-09-10 Created: 2015-09-10 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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