ScienceDaily (Feb. 17, 2012) — It's no secret that battlefield trauma can leave veterans with deep emotional scars that impact their ability to function in civilian life. But new research led by Washington University in St. Louis suggests that military service, even without combat, has a subtle lingering effect on a man's personality, making it potentially more difficult for veterans to get along with friends, family and co-workers.
"Our results suggest that personality traits play an important role in military training, both in the sort of men who are attracted to the military in the first place, and in the lasting impact that this service has on an individual's outlook on life," says study lead author Joshua J. Jackson, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences.
The study confirms that the military attracts men who are generally less neurotic, less likely to worry, less likely to be concerned about seeking out novel experiences. When compared with men in civilian pursuits, those entering the military also are more aggressive, more interested in competition than cooperation and less concerned about the feelings of others, the study finds.