US Navy EOD Operators’ use of Psychological Strategies is Comparable to that of Elite Athletes

Research Paper Title

Psychological Strategies During Military Training Are Linked to Resilience in US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Operators.

Background

The researchers describe the psychological strategies (PS) used by a specialised military population, US Navy explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), during training and military operations. They also aimed to establish the relationship between PS and resilience.

Methods

The Test of Performance Strategies was adapted to the military environment and subsequently was administered to 58 EOD Operators in conjunction with the 10-item Connor- Davidson Resilience Scale. Differences between high- and low-resilience Operators for PS were evaluated with discriminant models.

Results

The PS of EOD Operators were comparable to those of Olympic athletes described in a prior study. The most frequently used strategies during training and military operations were goal setting and emotional control. Discriminant analysis indicated an overall difference between high- and low-resilience Operators with respect to the six training subscales (ρ < .05), with goal setting, emotional control, and attentional control contributing most to the discriminant function.

Conclusions

EOD Operators’ use of PS was comparable to that of elite athletes. The researchers provide evidence that more-resilient EOD Operators differ from their less resilient counterparts in the strategies they use.

These findings have implications for mental preparation strategies used during military training and operations.

Reference

Taylor, M.K., Rolo, C., Stump, J., Mayo, J., Hernandez, L.M. & Gould, D.R. (2019) Psychological Strategies During Military Training Are Linked to Resilience in US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Operators. Journal of Special Operations Medicine. 19(1), pp.61-65.

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