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Baseline Dissociation And Prospective Success In Special Forces Assessment And Selection

Spring 2009

Morgan CA, Hazlett G, Dial-Ward M, Southwick SM. 09(2). 87 - 92. (Previously Published)

Previously Published in Psychiatry (Edgemont) 2008;5(7):52-57. Permission granted by Psychiatry 2008 to reproduce in the JSOM.


Introduction: Although dissociation at the time of trauma (peritraumatic dissociation) has been shown to predict the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it is not yet known whether the tendency to dissociate under nonstressful circumstances (i.e., at baseline) can also serve as a predictor of vulnerability to stress in healthy individuals. Method: 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. Discussion: 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 nonmilitary, at-risk professions. Better screening may lead to improved primary intervention strategies, better job placement, and lowered risk of PTSD.

PMID: 19813521