Contributing Factors to Israeli Soldiers' Adaptation to Military Noncombat Positions

Michal Yakobi, Rachel Dekel, Nirit Yavnai, Ariel Ben Yehuda, Leah Shelef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Adjusting to a military environment is a complex process, with unique demands and various stressors placed on conscripts. In this study, we examined the unique and combined contribution of the independent variables that constitute an individual soldier's personal resources - the meaningfulness of the military role and the match between expectations and the job itself; cognitive flexibility; social support; and seeking help from a mental health officer (MHO) - to the adaptation (dependent variable) of noncombat soldiers to military service. Method: The study group comprised 200 Israel Defense Forces noncombat soldiers aged 18-23 years (Meanage = 20.046 years, SD = 0.951). Of them, 107 (53.3%) had consulted a MHO. The remaining soldiers who had not consulted an MHO (n = 93, 46.5%) served as the comparison group. Research tools included the work and meaning questionnaire, the Cognitive Flexibility Scale, the Medical Outcomes Study (social support) questionnaire, and adaptation to the army questionnaire. Results: Adaptation to service was found to relate positively to the meaningfulness of the military role, cognitive flexibility, and social support. Social support partially mediated the relation between cognitive flexibility and adaptation to service. Additionally, soldiers who had consulted an MHO had lower levels of cognitive flexibility and social support, and they adapted less well to service compared to the comparison group. Conclusions: The study indicates that soldiers who seek help have lower resources. Additional personal and environmental variables that contribute to the adjustment of soldiers in noncombat positions were also identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1981-E1989
JournalMilitary Medicine
Volume188
Issue number7-8
DOIs
StatePublished - 22 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Funding

This study received a grant from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Medical Corps (1991-2019). The research was encouraged by the IDF Medical Corps but it did not intervene in the study in any way. This study received a grant from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Medical Corps (1991-2019). The research was encouraged by the IDF Medical Corps but it did not intervene in the study in any way.

FundersFunder number
IDF Medical Corps
Israel Defense Forces

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