Military service makes soldiers anti-social

Military service makes soldiers anti-social

Psychology: Military service changes men's personality

Military service influences the personal development of soldiers. This was the result of a study from 2012, which has so far received little attention. Accordingly, the military drill makes anti-social and unfriendly in the long run. According to the study authors, soldiers who return from operations abroad with a post-traumatic stress disorder are particularly hard hit. Young men who were once self-confident and committed would become frightened and sometimes aggressive personalities. The study results were published in the renowned journal "Psychological Science".

After the end of the military service, anti-social Joshua Jackson from Washington University in St. Louis studied with scientists from the University of Tübingen for six years the personality development of young men who joined the Bundeswehr for a year after graduating from high school. At the same time, they accompanied the development of community service providers.

"Soldiers are a little less warm-hearted and friendly right from the start, and the military experience seems to reinforce this - so after military service, men scored lower on tolerability compared to non-military personnel," Jackson explains. Interestingly, this influence seems to continue long after the soldier returns to work or college. " At the same time, at the beginning of their service, the soldiers were also somewhat emotionally more stable and more open to new experiences than those doing community service. According to the researchers, a low level of tolerance, as shown by the soldiers after the end of their military service, goes hand in hand with a low willingness to compromise, little willingness to submit to social rules and selfish behavior in interpersonal relationships. Overall, the soldiers were anti-social, the researchers concluded.

"On the other hand, people with less tolerance are often more willing to fight their way up the career ladder in their own way and sometimes make unpopular decisions that are necessary for business success," said Jackson. The study shows that personality can be shaped by external influences such as military service. "These changes in personality appear to be small, but they can make a big difference in the lives of those who have done military service," said the scientist.

Promotional material for military service fosters positive life changes "All military experience is being sold as an opportunity for life-changing change," Jackson continues. “Military recruiting material from around the world supports the idea that military experience is a catalyst for change. Current advertising slogans in the United States such as 'Be everything you can be', 'Step on the gas in your life' and 'Aim high' imply that military experiences influence life paths. "But:" It is one of the few situations in life, where you are completely controlled by someone else, "explains Jackson." Where someone works from the moment you wake up to bedtime to erase every spark of individuality on you. "

Last year around 2,370 German soldiers went abroad. A total of 1,602 suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after their return. There were 179 more cases than in the previous year. (ag)

Photo credit: Gabi Eder /

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