Values & Attitudes of Swedish Conscripts

Research Paper Title

A Principal Component Analysis of Swedish Conscripts’ Values and Attitudes towards their Military Education.


By identifying components relevant to conscripts’ success in and positive attitudes towards the military, we may be able to make it a more attractive employment option for current and future age-cohorts, thus solving the recruitment crisis not only in Sweden, but in several other European countries that have recently made the shift from conscription to an all-volunteer force.

Precisely, this study aims to identify and examine conscripts’ values and attitudes towards their mandatory tour of duty. The objective of this study is to analyse the components important to Swedish conscripts in order to determine what components should be included or emphasized in future military education programmes.

Data were collected from 55,239 conscripts between 2002 and 2010 (when conscription was suspended in Sweden), using an anonymous course evaluation questionnaire. Data from 2002-2005 were combined and used as a baseline to compare against data from later years. Principal component analysis was conducted and resulted in 3 components being extracted for each year (except 2008, a year for which only 2 components were extracted). Those components were individual development, group cohesion, and competence/ state of readiness.

The study’s most important conclusion was that conscripts’ attitudes and values were in line with those of younger generations and that a focus on these values may lead to the development of more attractive educational and career opportunities for today’s youth.


Weber, M. & Osterberg, J. (2016)  A Principal Component Analysis of Swedish Conscripts’ Values and Attitudes towards their Military Education. Res Militaris: European Journal of Military Studies. 5(2). Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 17 July, 2016].


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