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For the journal, see Military Psychology

Military psychology is the research, design and application of psychological theories and experimentation data towards understanding, predicting and countering behaviours either in friendly or enemy forces or civilian population that may be undesirable, threatening or potentially dangerous to the conduct of military operations and war.

Area of studyEdit

The goals and missions of current military psychologists have been retained over the years, varying with the focus and strength of intensity of research put forth into each sector. The need for mental health care is now an expected part of high-stress military environments.[1] The importance and severity of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has finally gained more credibility than those suffering from it received in the past, and is being highlighted in treatment programs. More extensive post-deployment screenings take place now to hone in on problematic recoveries that used to be passed unnoticed and untreated.


Military psychology's aim, is to understand: 
  • the psychological factors influencing military decision making
  • the role of group cohesion in military units
  • why some soldiers succeed in a miliary environment and why others fail.

Military psychology is applied towards counseling and treatment of stress and fatigue of military personnel or military families as well as treatment of psychological trauma suffered as a result of military operations.

Another use of military psychology is in interrogation of prisoners who may provide information that would enhance outcomes of friendly military operations or reduce friendly casualties.

Operational psychologyEdit

Operational psychology is the use of psychological principles and skills to improve a military commander's decision making as it pertains to conducting combat and/or related operations. This is a relatively new subdiscipline categorization that has been employed largely by psychologists and behavioral scientists in military, intelligence, and law enforcement arenas. While psychology has been utilized in non-health related fields for many decades, recent years have seen an increased focus on its national security applications. Examples of such applications include the development of counterinsurgency strategy through human profiling, interrogation and detention support, information-psychological operations, and the selection of personnel for special mission units.[2]

Health, organizational, and occupational psychologyEdit

Military psychologists perform work in a variety of areas, to include operating mental health and family counseling clinics, performing research to help select recruits for the armed forces, determining which recruits will be best suited for various military occupational specialties, and performing analysis on humanitarian and peacekeeping missions to determine procedures that could save military and civilian lives. Some military psychologists also work to improve the lives of service personnel and their families. Other military psychologists work with large social policy programs within the military that are designed to increase diversity and equal opportunity.[3]

More modern programs employ the skills and knowledge of military psychologists to address issues such as integrating diverse ethnic and racial groups into the military and reducing sexual assault and discrimination. Others assist in the employment of women in combat positions and other positions traditionally held by men. Some military psychologists help to utilize low-capability recruits and rehabilitate drug-addicted and wounded service members. They are in charge of drug testing and psychological treatment for lifestyle problems, such as alcohol and substance abuse. In modern times, the advisement of military psychologists are being heard and taken more seriously into consideration for national policy than ever before.[4]

There are now more psychologists employed by the United States Department of Defense than by any other organization in the world. Since the downsizing of the military in the 1990s, however, there has been a considerable reduction in psychological research and support in the armed forces as well.[5]

HistoryEdit

Psychological stress and disorders have always been a part of military life, especially during and after wartime, but the mental health section of military psychology has not always experienced the awareness it does now. Even in the present day there is much more research and awareness needed concerning this area.

One of the first institutions created to care for military psychiatric patients was St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington D.C.. Formerly known as the United States Government Hospital for the Insane, the hospital was founded by Congress in 1855 and is currently in a state of disrepair although operational, with revitalization plans scheduled to begin in 2010.[6][7]

Early workEdit

In 1890 James McKeen Cattell coined the term “mental tests.” Cattell studied under Wundt at Leipzig in Germany at one point during his life and strongly advocated for psychology to be viewed as a science on par with the physical and life sciences.[8] He promoted the need for standardization of procedures, use of norms, and advocated the use of statistical analysis to study individual differences. He was unwavering in his opposition to America’s involvement in World War I.[9]

Lightner Witmer, who also spent some time working under Wundt,[10] changed the scene for psychology forever from his position at the University of Pennsylvania when he coined the term “clinical psychology” and outlined a program of training and study. This model for clinical psychology is still followed in modern times. Eleven years later in 1907 Witmer founded the journal The Psychological Clinic.[11]

Also in 1907, a routine psychological screening plan for hospitalized psychiatric patients was developed by Shepard Ivory Franz, civilian research psychologist at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. Two years later, under the leadership of William Alanson White, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital became known for research and training of psychiatrists and military medical officers. In 1911 Hebert Butts, a Navy medical officer stationed at St. Elizabeths, published the first protocol for psychological screening of Navy recruits based on Franz's work.[12]

Intelligence testing in the United States militaryEdit

Lewis M. Terman, a professor at Stanford University,[13] revised the Binet-Simon Scale in 1916, renaming it the Stanford-Binet Revision. This test was the beginning of the “Intelligence Testing Movement” and was administered to over 170,000 soldiers in the United States Army during World War I. Yerkes published the results of these tests in 1921 in a document that became known as the Army Report.[14]

There were two tests that initially made up the intelligence tests for the military: Army Alpha and Army Beta tests. They were developed to evaluate vast numbers of military recruits that were both literate (Army Alpha tests) and illiterate (Army Beta tests). The Army Beta test were designed to “measure native intellectual capacity.” [15] The Army Beta test also helped to test non-English speaking service members.[16]

The standardized intelligence and entrance tests that have been used for each military branch in the United States has transformed over the years. Finally, in 1974, “the Department of Defense decided that all Services should use the ASVAB for both screening enlistees and assigning them to military occupations. Combining selection and classification testing made the testing process more efficient. It also enabled the Services to improve the matching of applicants with available job positions and allowed job guarantees for those qualified.” This went fully into effect in 1976.[17]

Yerkes and warEdit

Robert M. Yerkes, while he was president of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1917, worked with E. B. Titchener and a group of psychologists that were known as the “Experimentalists.” Their work resulted in formulating a plan for APA members to offer their professional services to the World War I effort, even though Yerkes was known for being opposed to America being involved in the war at all. It was decided that psychologists could provide support in developing methods for selection of recruits and treatment of war victims.[18] This was spurred, in part, by America’s growing interest in the work of Alfred Binet in France on mental measurement, as well as the scientific management movement to enhance worker productivity.[19]

In 1919, Yerkes was commissioned as a major in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps. In a plan proposed to the Surgeon General, Yerkes wrote: "The Council of the American Psychological Association is convinced that in the present emergency American psychology can substantially serve the Government, under the medical corps of the Army and Navy, by examining recruits with respect to intellectual deficiency, psychopathic tendencies, nervous instability, and inadequate self-control." [20]

Also in 1919, the Army Division of Psychology in the Medical Department was established at the medical training camp at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, to train personnel to provide mental testing of large groups.[21]

This was also the era when the condition referred to as “shell shock” was first seriously studied by psychologists and standardized screening tests for pilots were administered.[22]

World War IIEdit

World War II ushered in an era of substantial growth for the psychological field, centering around four major areas: testing for individual abilities, applied social psychology, instruction and training, and clinical psychology.[23]

During this war, The Army General Classification Test (AGCT) and the Navy General Classification Test (NGCT) were used in place of the Army Alpha and Army Beta tests, for similar purposes.[24]

The United States Army had no unified program for the use of clinical psychologists until 1944, towards the end of World War II. Before this time, no clinical psychologists were serving in Army hospitals under the supervision of psychiatrists. This had to do with psychologists’ opposition to this type of service and also to the limited role the Army assigned to psychiatry. At this time, the only psychiatric interview that was being processed on the ever-increasing numbers of military recruits lasted only three minutes and could only manage to weed out the severely disturbed recruits. Under these conditions, it was impossible to determine which seemingly normal recruits would crack under the strain of military duties, and the need for clinical psychologists grew. Finally, by 1945 there were over 450 clinical psychologists serving in the Army.[25]

Military psychology matured well past the areas aforementioned that concerned psychologists up until this time, branching off into sectors that included military leadership, the effects of environmental factors on human performance, military intelligence, psychological operations and warfare (such as Special Forces like PSYOPS), selection for special duties, and the influences of personal background, attitudes, and the work group on soldier motivation and morals.[26]

Korean WarEdit

This was the first war where clinical psychologists served overseas. They were positioned in hospitals as well as combat zones. Their particular roles were vague, broad, and fairly undefined, except for the Air Force who provided detailed job descriptions for psychologists’ positions. The Air Force also outlined the standardized tests and procedures for evaluating recruits that were to be used.[27]

Vietnam WarEdit

There were significant challenges that obstructed the regular use of psychologists to support combat troops in this war. The mental health teams were very small, usually only consisting of one psychiatrist, one psychologist, and three or four enlisted corpsmen. Quite often, medical officers, including psychologists, were working in severe conditions with little or no field experience.[28]

JournalsEdit

OrganisationsEdit


See alsoEdit

ReferencesyEdit

  1. Kennedy, C. H. & Zillmer, E. A. (2006). Military Psychology: Clinical and Operational Applications. Guilford Press: New York, NY.
  2. Staal, M. & Stephenson, J. (2006). Operational Psychology: An Emerging Subdiscipline. Military Psychology, 18(4), 269-282
  3. Division 19 Society for Military Psychology. (2009). Military Psychology Overview. Retrieved November 24, 2009, from http://www.apadivision19.org/overview.htm
  4. Division 19 Society for Military Psychology. (2009). Military Psychology Overview. Retrieved November 24, 2009, from http://www.apadivision19.org/overview.htm
  5. Division 19 Society for Military Psychology. (2009). Military Psychology Overview. Retrieved November 24, 2009, from http://www.apadivision19.org/overview.htm
  6. Michels, K. (2004). Intelligence Testing in the United States Military. Retrieved October 29, 2009, from http://www.historyofmilitarypsychology.com/index.html
  7. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2006). Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital. Retrieved December 1, 2009, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/medtour/elizabeths.html
  8. Plucker, J. A. (Ed.). (2003). Human intelligence: Historical influences, current controversies, teaching resources. Retrieved November 19, 2009, from http://www.indiana.edu/~intell
  9. Michels, K. (2004). Intelligence Testing in the United States Military. Retrieved October 29, 2009, from http://www.historyofmilitarypsychology.com/index.html
  10. Grassetti, S. (2007). Lightner Witmer. Retrieved December 3, 2009, from http://www.pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/bios/Witmer__Lightner.html
  11. Michels, K. (2004). Intelligence Testing in the United States Military. Retrieved October 29, 2009, from http://www.historyofmilitarypsychology.com/index.html
  12. Michels, K. (2004). Intelligence Testing in the United States Military. Retrieved October 29, 2009, from http://www.historyofmilitarypsychology.com/index.html
  13. Plucker, J. A. (Ed.). (2003). Human intelligence: Historical influences, current controversies, teaching resources. Retrieved November 19, 2009, from http://www.indiana.edu/~intell
  14. Michels, K. (2004). Intelligence Testing in the United States Military. Retrieved October 29, 2009, from http://www.historyofmilitarypsychology.com/index.html
  15. Michels, K. (2004). Intelligence Testing in the United States Military. Retrieved October 29, 2009, from http://www.historyofmilitarypsychology.com/index.html
  16. History of Military Testing. ASVAB: Official Site of the ASVAB. Retrieved November 21, 2009, from http://officialasvab.com/history_coun.htm
  17. History of Military Testing. ASVAB: Official Site of the ASVAB. Retrieved November 21, 2009, from http://officialasvab.com/history_coun.htm
  18. Michels, K. (2004). Intelligence Testing in the United States Military. Retrieved October 29, 2009, from http://www.historyofmilitarypsychology.com/index.html
  19. Division 19 Society for Military Psychology. (2009). Military Psychology Overview. Retrieved November 24, 2009, from http://www.apadivision19.org/overview.htm
  20. Michels, K. (2004). Intelligence Testing in the United States Military. Retrieved October 29, 2009, from http://www.historyofmilitarypsychology.com/index.html
  21. Michels, K. (2004). Intelligence Testing in the United States Military. Retrieved October 29, 2009, from http://www.historyofmilitarypsychology.com/index.html
  22. Xiao, H. (2007). News and Headlines: CWU Lecture to Outline History of Military Psychology. Retrieved November 24, 2009, from http://www.cwu.edu/~relation/pr-jan23-07.html
  23. Xiao, H. (2007). News and Headlines: CWU Lecture to Outline History of Military Psychology. Retrieved November 24, 2009, from http://www.cwu.edu/~relation/pr-jan23-07.html
  24. History of Military Testing. ASVAB: Official Site of the ASVAB. Retrieved November 21, 2009, from http://officialasvab.com/history_coun.htm
  25. Michels, K. (2004). Intelligence Testing in the United States Military. Retrieved October 29, 2009, from http://www.historyofmilitarypsychology.com/index.html
  26. Division 19 Society for Military Psychology. (2009). Military Psychology Overview. Retrieved November 24, 2009, from http://www.apadivision19.org/overview.htm
  27. Michels, K. (2004). Intelligence Testing in the United States Military. Retrieved October 29, 2009, from http://www.historyofmilitarypsychology.com/index.html
  28. Michels, K. (2004). Intelligence Testing in the United States Military. Retrieved October 29, 2009, from http://www.historyofmilitarypsychology.com/index.html


Further readingEdit

Key textsEdit

BooksEdit

  • Budd, F. C., & Kennedy, C. H. (2006). Introduction to Clinical Military Psychology. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  • Cronin, C. J. (1998). Military psychology: An introduction. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
  • Dixon, N.F.& Dixon, M. (1994) On The Psychology Of Military Incompetence. Pimlico ISBN: 0712658890
  • Gade, P. A., & Drucker, A. J. (2000). A history of Division 19 (Military Psychology). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Gal, R., & Mangelsdorff, A. D. (1991). Handbook of military psychology. Oxford, England: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Gossman, D. (1996). On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. Back bay books ISBN:0316230000
  • Kennedy, C. H., & McNeil, J. A. (2006). A History of Military Psychology. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  • Kennedy, C. H., & Zillmer, E. A. (2006). Military psychology: Clinical and operational applications. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  • Mangelsdorff, A. D. (1999). Cronin's "Military Psychology: An Introduction" A
  • Morgillo-Freeman, S., Moore, B. A., & Freeman, A. (2009). Living and Surviving in Harm's Way: A Psychological Treatment Handbook for Pre-and Post-Deployment of Military Personnel. New York, NY: Routledge

PapersEdit

  • Military Psychology: a Comparative Image. (1968). American Psychologist Vol 23(2) Feb 1968, 112-121.
  • Allen, J. P., Chatelier, P., Clark, H. J., & Sorenson, R. (1982). Behavioral science in the military: Research trends for the eighties: Professional Psychology Vol 13(6) Dec 1982, 918-929.
  • Amir, Y., Kovarsky, Y., & Sharan, S. (1970). Peer nomiations as a predictor of multistage promotions in a ramified organization: Journal of Applied Psychology Vol 54(5) Oct 1970, 462-469.
  • Benjamin, L. T., Jr., McKay, C. L., Osborn, W. C., & Prophet, W. W. (2002). Meredith P. Crawford (1910-2002): American Psychologist Vol 57(11) Nov 2002, 980-982.
  • Berger, S. M. (1967). Social Structure and Mediated Learning: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol 7(1, Pt 1) Sep 1967, 104-108.
  • Berkowitz, L., & Lepage, A. (1967). Weapons as Aggression-Eliciting Stimuli: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol 7(2, Pt 1) Oct 1967, 202-207.
  • Burtt, H. E., & Arps, G. F. (1920). Correlation of Army Alpha Intelligence Test with academic grades in high schools and military academies: Journal of Applied Psychology Vol 4(4) Dec 1920, 289-293.
  • Chappelle, W., & Lumley, V. (2006). Outpatient mental health care at a remote U.S. air base in Southern Iraq: Professional Psychology: Research and Practice Vol 37(5) Oct 2006, 523-530.
  • Clum, G. A., & Hoiberg, A. (1971). Diagnoses as moderators of the relationship between biographical variables and psychiatric decision in a combat zone: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology Vol 37(2) Oct 1971, 209-214.
  • Cooper, S. E. (2002). Foreword: Perspectives and reactions to the principles for education and training in organizational consulting psychology: Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research Vol 54(4) Fal 2002, 211-212.
  • Crawford, M. P. (1970). Military psychology and general psychology: American Psychologist Vol 25(4) Apr 1970, 328-336.
  • Darwin, J. L., & Reich, K. I. (2006). Reaching out to the families of those who serve: The SOFAR project: Professional Psychology: Research and Practice Vol 37(5) Oct 2006, 481-484.
  • Driskell, J. E., & Olmstead, B. (1989). Psychology and the military: Research applications and trends: American Psychologist Vol 44(1) Jan 1989, 43-54.
  • Eber, H. W. (1968). Relation of Age, Education, and Personality Characteristics to Military Rank in an Army Reserve Unit: Journal of Counseling Psychology Vol 15(1) Jan 1968, 89-90.
  • Gunderson, E. K., & Arthur, R. J. (1969). Brief mental health index: Journal of Abnormal Psychology Vol 74(1) Feb 1969, 100-104.
  • Hansen-Schwartz, J., Jessen, G., Andersen, K., & Jorgensen, H. O. (2002). Suicide after deployment in UN peacekeeping missions--A Danish pilot study: Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Vol 23(2) 2002, 55-58.
  • Janis, I. L., & Rausch, C. N. (1970). Selective interest in communications that could arouse decisional conflict: A field study of participants in the draft-resistance movement: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol 14(1) Jan 1970, 46-54.
  • Jeffrey, T. B., Rankin, R. J., & Jeffrey, L. K. (1992). In service of two masters: The ethical-legal dilemma faced by military psychologists: Professional Psychology: Research and Practice Vol 23(2) Apr 1992, 91-95.
  • Johnson, W. B. (2002). Consulting in the military context. Implications of the revised training principles: Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research Vol 54(4) Fal 2002, 233-241.
  • Kelley, C. R. (1971). In defense of military psychology: American Psychologist Vol 26(5) May 1971, 514-515.
  • Krueger, G. P. (2006). Robert Stanton Nichols (1929-2005): American Psychologist Vol 61(9) Dec 2006, 1024.
  • Leuba, C. (1971). Military are essential: American Psychologist Vol 26(5) May 1971, 515.
  • Luria, S. M. (1990). More about psychology and the military: American Psychologist Vol 45(2) Feb 1990, 296-297.
  • Macarthur, D. M. (1968). Current Emphasis on the Department of Defense's Social and Behavioral Sciences Program: American Psychologist Vol 23(2) Feb 1968, 104-107.
  • Mitchell, V. F. (1970). Need satisfactions of military commanders and staff: Journal of Applied Psychology Vol 54(3) Jun 1970, 282-287.
  • Murray, B. (2004). Castles in the air: Civilian trainee experiences with the RAF: Psychiatric Bulletin Vol 28(4) Apr 2004, 145-146.
  • Navran, L., & Kendall, L. M. (1971). A canonical correlational analysis of the Strong Vocational Interest Blank, the Holland Vocational Preference Inventory, and the Edwards Personal Preference Schedule: Journal of Counseling Psychology Vol 18(6) Nov 1971, 514-519.
  • No authorship, i. (2003). Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Practice in the Public Sector: American Psychologist Vol 58(11) Nov 2003, 975-977.
  • Notz, W. W., Staw, B. M., & Cook, T. D. (1971). Attitude toward troop withdrawal from Indochina as a function of draft number: Dissonance or self-interest? : Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol 20(1) Oct 1971, 118-126.
  • Pastore, N. (1975). In defense of Walter Lippmann: American Psychologist Vol 30(9) Sep 1975, 940-942.
  • Pickren, W. (2003). James Grier Miller (1916-2002): American Psychologist Vol 58(9) Sep 2003, 760.
  • Saks, M. J. (1970). On Meredith Crawford's "Military psychology..." American Psychologist Vol 25(9) Sep 1970, 876.
  • Sammons, M. T. (2005). Psychology in the public sector: Addressing the psychological effects of combat in the U.S. Navy: American Psychologist Vol 60(8) Nov 2005, 899-909.
  • Sawamura, T., Shimizu, K., Masaki, Y., Kobayashi, N., Sugawara, M., Tsunoda, T., et al. (2008). Mental health in Japanese members of the United Nations peacekeeping contingent in the Golan Heights: Effects of deployment and the Middle East situation: American Journal of Orthopsychiatry Vol 78(1) Jan 2008, 85-92.
  • Shechner, T., Slone, M., & Bialik, G. (2007). Does political ideology moderate stress: The special case of soldiers conducting forced evacuation: American Journal of Orthopsychiatry Vol 77(2) Apr 2007, 189-198.
  • Shuriquie, N. (2003). Military psychiatry - A Jordanian experience: Psychiatric Bulletin Vol 27(10) Oct 2003, 386-388.
  • Simonton, D. K. (1980). Land battles, generals, and armies: Individual and situational determinants of victory and casualties: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol 38(1) Jan 1980, 110-119.
  • Sperling, P. I. (1968). A New Direction for Military Psychology: Political Psychology: American Psychologist Vol 23(2) Feb 1968, 97-103.
  • Staal, M. A., & King, R. E. (2000). Managing a multiple relationship environment: The ethics of military psychology: Professional Psychology: Research and Practice Vol 31(6) Dec 2000, 698-705.
  • Stanczak, D. E., Bolter, J. F., & Bernard, J. L. (1982). Practicing clinical psychology under the Uniform Code of Military Justice: Professional Psychology Vol 13(5) Oct 1982, 728-735.
  • Steiner, I. D., & Darroch, R. K. (1969). Relationship between the quality of counterattitudinal performance and attitude change: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol 11(4) Apr 1969, 312-320.
  • Streufert, S., & Streufert, S. C. (1970). Effects of increasing failure and success on military and economic risk taking: Journal of Applied Psychology Vol 54(5) Oct 1970, 393-400.
  • Sulsky, L. M. (2002). Research in industrial and organisational psychology in the Canadian forces: Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Revue canadienne des sciences du comportement Vol 34(2) Apr 2002, 69-70.
  • Weiss, W. U., & Waldrop, R. S. (1972). Some characteristics of individuals who remain in an institution for the aged: Developmental Psychology Vol 6(1) Jan 1972, 182.

JournalsEdit

Additional materialEdit

BooksEdit

PapersEdit

External linksEdit

APA Division 19 - Society for Military Psychology Website for Military Psychology (journal)


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