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March 1974

Ineffective Military Personnel: I. A Psychosocial Perspective

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;30(3):398-402. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760090104016

Failure to adapt in a military setting is seen as a multidimensional problem. In what has become a highly structured technologic environment, adolescents from disadvantaged backgrounds find themselves unable to compete successfully for status. The result is often frustration, increasing alienation, and lowered self-esteem, followed by ineffective performance and antisocial behavior.

The noncareer, military psychiatrist is frequently asked to evaluate such servicemen, but, like his adolescent patient, he too may be struggling to adjust to the military milieu.

A preventive approach is suggested for the problems of both. "First-termers" at risk of failure within the military system, must be encouraged to develop their potential and advance out of jobs that sap their self-esteem. For the first-term psychiatrist, maintenance of professional self-esteem may entail helping this come about.