CitationNedelec, Joseph L.; Boutwell, Brian B.; & Theocharidou, Kalliopi (2020). The intersection of individual differences, personality variation, & military service: A twin comparison design. Military Psychology. vol. 32 (5) pp. 442-452
AbstractIn societies where military service is voluntary multiple factors are likely to affect the decision to enlist. Past research has produced evidence that a handful of personality and social factors seem to predict service in the military. However, recent quantitative genetic research has illustrated that enlistment in the military appears to be partially heritable and thus past research is potentially subject to genetic confounding. To assess the extent to which genetic confounding exists, the current study examined a wide range of individual-level factors using a subsample of twins (n = 1,232) from the restricted-use version of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. The results of a series of longitudinal twin comparison models, which control for the latent sources of influence that cluster within families (i.e., shared genetic and family factors), illustrated generally null findings. However, individuals with higher scores on measures of extraversion and the general factor of personality were more likely to enlist in the military, after correction for familial confounding. Nonetheless, the overall results suggest that familial confounding should be a methodological concern in this area of research, and future work is encouraged to employ genetically informed methodologies in assessments of predictors of military enlistment.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleMilitary Psychology
Author(s)Nedelec, Joseph L.
Boutwell, Brian B.