Baseline Dissociation and Prospective Success in Special Forces Assessment and Selection

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject: LCSH

Special forces (Military science)--United States, Dissociation (Psychology)



Although dissociation at the time of trauma (peritraumatic dissociation) has been shown to predict the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it is not yet known whether the tendency to dissociate under nonstressful circumstances (i.e., at baseline) can also serve as a predictor of vulnerability to stress in healthy individuals.


Baseline symptoms of dissociation (CADSS) were assessed in 774 active duty male soldiers enrolled in Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS).


Soldiers who endorsed experiencing any symptoms of dissociation at baseline were significantly less likely to be successful in SFAS. The greater the number of symptoms of dissociation endorsed at baseline, the greater the likelihood of failure.


These data explain our earlier findings of fewer symptoms of dissociation in elite troops and may have relevance for the selection and hiring of personnel for nonmilitary, at-risk professions. Better screening may status (positively or negatively) in SFAS. Of the 794 SFAS candidates who were given the study recruitment speech, 774 candidates enrolled in the study. Thus, the refusal rate was three percent. Information on the 20 individuals who refused to participate in the study was not available to the research team.


Copyright © 2008 Matrix Medical Communications. All rights reserved. This article is posted in PubMed Central.

Publisher Citation

Morgan, C. A., Southwick, S. M., Hazliett, G., & Dial-Ward, M. (2008). Baseline Dissociation and Prospective Success in Special Forces Assessment and Selection. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 5(7), 53–58. Published online 2008 Jul. PMCID: PMC2695734