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Association of Physical Domain Participation with POTFF Domains in Special Forces Operators

Winter 2023

Nelson T, Youngblade L, Goldberg P, Bricker D, Werth K, Riesberg JC, Surrett GW. 23(4). 92 - 108. (Journal Article)


Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the physical domain (PD) to improve performance in all the POTFF domains (physical, psychological, social/family, and spiritual) among Special Forces (SF) Operators. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of active SF Operators assigned to the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC). Recruitment began in October 2016. Testing began on 1 January 2017, and concluded on 28 February 2020. Participants completed physical testing, blood draws, and questionnaires to determine domain metrics. Means, medians, and proportions were compared by level of participation in the PD. Results: A total of 231 Soldiers participated; n=63 in the control group, n=93 in the <4 days PD/week (PD <4) group, and n=66 in the >4 days PD/week (PD =4) group. The average age was 31 years (range 21-47 y). The average time in the Special Operations Forces (SOF) was 4 years (range 0-19 y). The PD =4 group showed significantly greater overall upper (p=.01) and lower (p=0) body strength, power (p=.01), and positive affect (p=.04). The PD =4 group also had significantly lower anxiety (p=.03), stress (p=.04), and depression (p=.02) than the control group. Conclusion: The PD and psychological domain metrics were most associated with PD participation. This finding is consistent with the goals of the PD, which are to increase physical and mental capabilities and decrease injury recovery time.

Keywords: physical domain; spiritual domain; POTFF; United States Army Special Operations Command; USASOC; Special Forces; psychological domain; social/family domain

PMID: 38109229

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