Special Forces: Screening & Dissociation, What’s the Link?

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Baseline Dissociation and Prospective Success in Special Forces Assessment and Selection.

Background

Although dissociation at the time of trauma (peritraumatic dissociation) has been shown to predict the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it is not yet known whether the tendency to dissociate under non-stressful circumstances (i.e. at baseline) can also serve as a predictor of vulnerability to stress in healthy individuals.

Methods

Baseline symptoms of dissociation (CADSS) were assessed in 774 active duty male Soldiers enrolled in Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS).

Results

Soldiers who endorsed experiencing any symptoms of dissociation at baseline were significantly less likely to be successful in SFAS. The greater the number of symptoms of dissociation endorsed at baseline, the greater the likelihood of failure.

Conclusions

These data explain our earlier findings of fewer symptoms of dissociation in elite troops and may have relevance for the selection and hiring of personnel for non-military, at-risk professions. Better screening may lead to improved primary intervention strategies, better job placement, and lowered risk of PTSD.

Reference

Morgan 3rd, C.A., Hazlett, G., Dial-Ward, M. & Southwick, S.M. (2009) Baseline Dissociation and Prospective Success in Special Forces Assessment and Selection. Journal of Special Operations Medicine. 9(2), pp.87-92.

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