Resilience of Ukrainian Military Personnel to Perform Tasks in Combat Conditions

Author`s Contribution:

Prykhodko I. I. 1 A
A — Study design;
B — Data collection;
C — Statistical analysis;
D — Data interpretation;
E — Manuscript preparation;
F — Literature search;
G — Funds collection;
  • National Academy of the National Guard of Ukraine, Ukraine
Background and aim of study:
The problem of predicting people's behavior in extreme conditions, as well as assessing the likelihood of maintaining their mental health and performance after the impact of vital factors is the focus of scientists, practical psychologists and psychiatrists. A special place among extreme situations is occupied by the local armed conflict, which has been taking place in eastern Ukraine since 2014. The resilience of military personnel to combat conditions is manifested by their ability to quickly adapt to new operating conditions and maintain a level of psychological safety of the person (PSP), that will allow them to act adequately in a combat situation and perform tasks well.
Research methods:
To determine the resilience of military personnel to combat activities, rapid methods “Disadaptivity-45” and “Express diagnosis of psychological safety of the person” (EDPSP-28) were used. The study involved 163 military contract service personnel of the National Guard of Ukraine. All subjects underwent professional and psychological training before being sent to the combat zone.
During the first two or three weeks of the personnel’s stay in the combat zone, in order to study the peculiarities of adaptation to extreme conditions, 77 servicemen were diagnosed using the “Disadaptivity- 45” method. A high level of maladaptation was found in 11 servicemen (14%), an average level of adaptation in 25 people (32%), a high level of adaptation in 42 people (54%). To correlate the obtained data and to determine the current mental state, psychodiagnostics of 86 servicemen were performed using the EDPSP-28 method. Psychological safety of a serviceman’s personality reflects the mechanism of psychological protection of a person, his ability to maintain an optimal level of functioning, the ability to eliminate external and internal threats that arise, and maintain a sufficiently stable level of ability to perform combat missions in normal and extreme conditions. The results showed that a high level of PSP was found in 37 servicemen (43%), an average in 36 people (42%), low in 13 people (15%). Thus, the vast majority of military personnel (86%) have well and satisfactorily adapted to the conditions of tasks in the combat zone, it is possible to predict a high level of their resilience to extreme conditions. A high level of maladaptation was found in 14% of the military, their mental state was characterized as unstable, with some minor mental disorders. 15% of people with a low level of PSP revealed dependence on others and, as a result, a desire for isolation, loneliness. They had high anxiety, self-doubt, there were internal unpleasant sensations (pronounced manifestations of asthenic reactions, hypochondria). Therefore, they were constantly monitored by unit commanders, deputy personnel commanders, psychologists, and noncommissioned officers. They were additionally examined by a psychiatrist, but no mental disorders were found. Individual work and supervision activities were constantly carried out with them.
The vast majority of military personnel (86%) have a sufficient level of resilience to perform tasks in combat, they are well adapted to these conditions. The high and medium level of development of PSP in 85% of respondents showed that they are able to perform combat missions without significant harm to their psyche. The military, which showed low resilience, low levels of PSP and high maladaptation, required mandatory monitoring and additional psychoprophylactic measures. Failure to comply with these measures with increasing intensity of hostilities could lead to an increase in short-term and long-term psychogenic losses (prognosis from 14 to 26% or more), the emergence of mental disorders in personnel and subsequently high probability of post-traumatic stress disorder.
DOI and UDC:
UDC: 159.9.072:355.514 DOI: 10.26697/ijes.2020.2.30
Information about the authors:
Prykhodko Ihor Ivanovich – Doctor of Science in Psychology, Professor, Head of Research Centre, National Academy of the National Guard of Ukraine, Kharkiv, Ukraine. Research interests: extreme psychology, psychology of safety, professional psychological selection;