Variability in the stability of personality traits across a single combat deployment

Michael N. Dretsch, Benjamin Trachik, Maura Taylor, Roman Kotov, Robert Krueger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This study assessed changes in measures of personality traits across a 12-month combat deployment in a sample of conventional US Army soldiers. Results revealed Impulsive Sensation-Seeking (ImpSS) and Sociability (Sy) decreased significantly, whereas Neuroticism–Anxiety (N-Anx) increased. Changes in ImpSS scores were mainly attributed to age, but were inversely related to increases in traumatic stress symptoms. Combat exposure, concussion, age, education, and changes in traumatic stress scores all independently contributed to changes in N-Anx scores. Changes in Sy were not associated with any of the data available from pre-deployment or deployment measures. Changes in Aggression–hostility (Agg-Hos) and Activity (Act) across the deployment were not significant. The findings suggest significant variability in the stability of personality traits when exposed to combat stress and injury while deployed, which may be influenced by factors such as age and education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-431
Number of pages10
JournalMilitary Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This is supported by US Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC)–Military Operational Medical Research Program (MOMRP).3 The authors thank all the staff at the US Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory, who were instrumental in the logistical process of data collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© This work was authored as part of the Contributor’s official duties as an Employee of the United States Government and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 USC. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works under US Law.


  • Impulsive sensation seeking
  • PTSD
  • aggression
  • anxiety
  • combat exposure
  • concussion
  • hostility
  • military
  • neuroticism


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