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Reactions and Performance of Swedish Peacekeepers in Life-Threatening Situations
Swedish National Defence College, Department of Leadership and Management (ILM).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9990-2877
Swedish National Defence College, Department of Leadership and Management (ILM).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8274-6065
2002 (English)In: International Peacekeeping, ISSN 1353-3312, E-ISSN 1380-748X, Vol. 9, no 1, 133-152 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study maps reactions activated in peacekeeping personnel by life-threatening situations and explores how these reactions affect psychological functioning. In-depth interviews were carried out with 30 informants from the Swedish peacekeeping force serving in Bosnia between 1993 and 1995. All participants had experienced shooting incidents or other highly threatening events. Two models were formed. A descriptive model structures the content of the interviews according to the phase and type of situation from which they were mainly reported, as well as whether they were mainly reported by officers or privates. A theoretical model forms the basis for a discussion about the individual and situational factors that affect the specific reactions and how their interaction with role expectations affects performance. The informants were generally satisfied with their performance. Two factors associated with lower performance were either that the life-threatening situation implied loss of control or it demanded complex cognitive activity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 9, no 1, 133-152 p.
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-2986OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-2986DiVA: diva2:574257
Available from: 2012-12-05 Created: 2012-12-05 Last updated: 2017-01-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Human adaptation to danger
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Human adaptation to danger
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall purpose of the thesis was to increase knowledge concerning how people adapt psychologically when faced with a real dan­ger incident, and what implications these reactions and adaptation mecha­nisms have upon immediate performance.

The thesis is based on three empirical studies concerning people with per­sonal experience of dangerous incidents. Swedish peacekeeping person­nel who were involved in shooting incidents or other highly threatening events participated in two of these studies. Swedish citizens who were living in Kobe, Japan, during the earthquake of 1995 partici­pated in the third study. Retrospective self-reports included both qualitative and quantitative approaches. More specifically, the research questions focused on the subjec­tive descriptions of personal reactions and performance during dan­gerous situations, the frequency of various reac­tions, and the individual and situ­ational factors that influence reactions and functioning.

On a general level, all groups seem to have performed well during the dangerous encounters they experienced. Severely dysfunctional reactions were rare, but general feelings of invulnerability were commonly reported. During these threatening situations, a partial loss of emotional balance and cognitive functioning was also common. Different individual and situ­a­tional factors appeared to interact with reactions and performance. Factors that were associated with lower performance included whether the danger incident implied a loss of control or if it demanded complex cogni­tive activity.

A fourth and purely theoretical study addressed how assumptions from Darwian, Freudian, and cognitive psychology are supported by empirical disaster research in explaining why people occasionally fail to adapt when danger is present. It was suggested that the different theories could be integrated into a model, in which adapta­tion mechanisms on different psychological levels could be included; from processes that are con­sciously controlled to automatic processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Lund University, Department of Psychology, 2001. 179 p.
Keyword
Peacekeeping, Disaster, Earthquake, Life-Threat, Danger, Stress, Reactions, Performance, Adaptation, Coping
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Ledarskap under påfrestande förhållanden
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-3343 (URN)91-628-4711-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2001-04-20, Lund University, 13:15 (English)
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-01-15 Created: 2013-01-11 Last updated: 2017-01-04Bibliographically approved

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