Development and validation of a psychological screening tool to assess pre-enlistment psychological factors likely to impact on military well-being and performance in the context of the Sri Lankan military

Kanthilatha, H. G.

September 2017

Thesis or dissertation

© 2017 H G Kanthilatha. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Military personnel who are directly involved in war face its most harmful consequences. However, research suggests that personality differences and characteristics might mitigate or exacerbate the impact on individual responses to war-related experiences. These characteristics could be either risk or protective factors.

The current study aimed to develop and validate a psychological screening tool to assess pre-enlistment personality factors which can contribute to the well-being of military personnel and determine whether this tool can predict variables related to military well-being and performance.

Two main studies were conducted to achieve these aims. Firstly, a cross-sectional descriptive survey was conducted with 960 junior military officers representing triforces in Sri Lanka for scale development and validation. A tool was developed combining Resilience Scale (RS25), Dispositional Resilience Scale (DRS15), and Mental Toughness Questionnaire (MTQ48). This tool was validated through EFA and CFA processes adopting a split sample cross validation method and resulting a scale with 42 items which was named as the “Resilience Inventory for Military (RIM)”. These 42 items comprised two factors. One consisted of 20 resilience items, the other consisted of 22 mental toughness items. Both subscales in this scale demonstated good validity and reliability levels.

Secondly, a longitudinal study was carried out with 92 Cadet trainees to determine whether this scale can predict the turnover intention of the trainees, newcomer adjustment of trainees, training satisfaction,training performance and their general mental health condition. The results demonstrated that those who score high on the RIM scale have a greater adjustment, good level of mental health, are less likely to exibhit turnover intention and more satisfied with the training.

The findings can help Sri Lankan military forces identify the most resilient candidates for military service and minimise negative behaviour outcomes among military personnel. Also, this research suggests how mental toughness, hardiness and resilience relate together.This approach might also be of use elsewhere in South Asia.

School of Life Sciences, The University of Hull
Hammersley, Richard (Richard H.)
Sponsor (Organisation)
Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom
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