Relations between type of army service, incidental emotions and risk perceptions

Abstract

Military service in general and combat service in particular can be physically and psychologically stressful. Previous studies have focused on risk propensity and risky behavior among soldiers. Yet knowledge is still lacking regarding the impact of type of army service on soldiers’ risk perceptions. The current study examines how type of army service and negative incidental emotions affect risk perceptions. Results of a survey conducted among 153 combat and non-combat Israeli soldiers indicate that respondents serving in combat units on average have more pessimistic risk perceptions than non-combat soldiers. Yet no significant differences emerged between combat and non-combat respondents with respect to their levels of negative incidental emotions. Regression analyses suggest that higher levels of negative incidental emotions are correlated with pessimistic risk perceptions among all respondents, while higher levels of risk attitude are correlated with pessimistic risk perceptions among combat soldiers but not among non-combat soldiers.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Andrade EB, Ariely D (2009) The enduring effect of transient emotions on decision making. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 109(1):1–8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Barnett J, Breakwell GM (2001) Risk perception and experience: hazard personality profiles and individual differences. Risk Anal 21(1):171–178

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Barron G, Erev I (2003) Small feedback-based decisions and their limited correspondence to description based decisions. J Behav Decis Mak 16(3):215–233

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Benzion U, Shahrabani S, Shavit T (2009) Emotions and perceived risks after the 2006 Israel–Lebanon war. Mind Soc Cognit Stud Econ Soc Sci 8(1):21–41

    Google Scholar 

  5. Ben-Zur H, Zeidner M (2009) Threat to life and risk-taking behaviors. A review of findings and explanatory models. Personal Soc Psychol Rev 13:109–128

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Brænder M (2015) Adrenalin junkies: why soldiers return from war wanting more. Armed Forces Soc 42(1):3–25

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Browne TE, Iversen A, Hull L, Workman L, Barker C, Horn O, Fear N (2008) How do experiences in Iraq affect alcohol use amongst male UK armed forces personnel? Occup Environ Med 65(9):628–633

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Cohen SA (1995) The Israel defense forces (IDF): from a “people’s army” to a “professional military”—causes and implications. Armed Forces Soc 21(2):237–254

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Fear NT, Iversen A, Meltzer H, Workman L, Hull L, Greenberg N, Barker C et al (2007) Patterns of drinking in the UK armed forces. Addiction 102(11):1749–1759

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Garvin T (2001) Analytical paradigms: the epistemological distances between scientists, policy makers, and the public. Risk Anal 21(3):443–455

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Garyn-Tal S, Shahrabani S (2015) Type of army service and decision to engage in risky behavior among young people in Israel. Judgm Decis Mak 10(4):342–354

    Google Scholar 

  12. Halpern-Felsher BL, Millstein SG, Ellen JM, Adler NE, Tschann JM, Biehl M (2001) The role of behavioural experience in judging risks. Health Psychol 20(2):120–126

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Hogarth RM, Portell M, Cuxart A, Kolev GI (2011) Emotion and reason in everyday risk perception. J Behav Decis Mak 24(2):202–222

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Isen AM (1997) Positive affect and decision making. In: Goldstein WM, Hogarth RM (eds) Research on judgment and decision making: currents, connections, and controversies. Cambridge University, New York, pp 509–534

    Google Scholar 

  15. Johnson EJ, Tversky A (1983) Affect, generalization, and the perception of risk. J Pers Soc Psychol 45(1):20–31

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Johnson EJ, Hershey J, Meszaros J, Kunreuther H (1993) Framing, probability distortions, and insurance decisions. J Risk Uncertain 7(1):35–51

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Kelley AM, Athy JR, Cho TH, Erickson B, King M, Cruz P (2012) Risk propensity and health risk behaviors in US army soldiers with and without psychological disturbances across the deployment cycle. J Psychiatr Res 46(5):582–589

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Killgore WDS, Vo AH, Castro CA, Hoge CW (2006) Assessing risk propensity in American soldiers: preliminary reliability and validity of the evaluation of risks (EVAR) scale—English version. Mil Med 171(3):233–239

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Killgore WDS, Cotting DI, Thomas JL, Cox AL, McGurk D, Vo AV, Hoge CW (2008) Post-combat invincibility: violent combat experiences are associated with increased risk-taking propensity following deployment. J Psychiatr Res 42(13):1112–1121

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Lerner JS, Keltner D (2000) Beyond valence: toward a model of emotion-specific influences on judgement and choice. Cogn Emot 14(4):473–493

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Lerner JS, Keltner D (2001) Fear, anger, and risk. J Pers Soc Psychol 81(1):146–159

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Lerner JS, Gonzalez RM, Small DA, Fischhoff B (2003) Emotion and perceived risks of terrorism: a national field experiment. Psychol Sci 14:144–150

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Lichtenstein A, Slovic P, Fischhoff B, Layman M, Combs B (1978) Judged frequency of lethal events. J Exp Psychol Human Learn Mem 4(6):551–578

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Loewenstein G, Lerner JS (2003) The role of affect in decision making. In: Davidson RJ, Goldsmith HH, Scherer KR (eds) Handbook of affective science. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 619–642

    Google Scholar 

  25. Rosenboim M, Benzion U, Shahrabani S, Shavit T (2012) Emotions, risk perceptions and precautionary behavior under the threat of terror attacks: a field study among Israeli college students. J Behav Decis Mak 25(3):248–256

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Ruin I, Gaillard JC, Lutoff C (2007) How to get there? Assessing motorists’ flash flood risk perception on daily itineraries. Environ Hazards 7(3):235–244

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Scolobig A, De Marchi B, Borga M (2012) The missing link between flood risk awareness and preparedness: findings from case studies in an Alpine region. Nat Hazards 63(2):499–520

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Shahrabani S, Benzion U, Shavit T (2009) Recalled emotions and risk judgments: field study of the 2006 Israel–Lebanon war. Judgm Decis Mak 4(5):326–336

    Google Scholar 

  29. Shahrabani S, Benzion U, Rosenboim M, Shavit T (2012) Does moving from war zone change emotions and risk perceptions? A field study of Israeli students. Judgm Decis Mak 7(5):669–678

    Google Scholar 

  30. Sherman SJ, Cialdini RB, Schwartzman DF, Reynolds KD (1985) Imagining can heighten or lower the perceived likelihood of contracting a disease: the mediating effect of ease of imagery. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 11(1):118–127

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Siegrist M, Cvetovich G (2000) Perception of hazards: the role of social trust. Risk Anal 20(5):713–719

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Slovic P, Peters E (2006) Risk perception and affect. Curr Dir Psychol Sci 15(6):322–325

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Slovic P, Finucane M, Peters E, MacGregor D (2004) Risk as analysis and risk as feelings: some thoughts about affect, reason, risk, and rationality. Risk Anal 24(2):311–322

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Slovic P, Finucane M, Peters E, MacGregor D (2007) The affect heuristic. Eur J Oper Res 177(3):1333–1352

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Thomsen CJ, Stander VA, McWhorter SK, Rabenhorst MM, Milner JS (2011) Effects of combat deployment on risky and self-destructive behavior among active duty military personnel. J Psychiatr Res 45(10):1321–1331

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Tversky A, Kahneman D (1974) Judgment under uncertainty: heuristics and biases. Science 185:1124–1131

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Tversky A, Koehler DJ (1994) Support theory: a nonextensional representation of subjective probability. Psychol Rev 101(4):547–567

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Västfjäll D, Peters E, Slovic P (2014) The affect heuristic, mortality salience, and risk: domain-specific effects of a natural disaster on risk benefit perception. Scand J Psychol 55(6):527–532

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Wachinger G, Renn O, Begg C, Kuhlicke C (2013) The risk perception paradox—implications for governance and communication of natural hazards. Risk Anal 33(6):1049–1065

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Watson D, Clark LA, Tellegen A (1988) Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: the PANAS scales. J Pers Soc Psychol 54(6):1063–1070

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Wilk JE, Bliese PD, Kim PY, Thomas JL, McGurk D, Hoge CW (2010) Relationship of combat experiences to alcohol misuse among US soldiers returning from the Iraq war. Drug Alcohol Depend 108(1):115–121

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Wright WF, Bower GH (1992) Mood effects on subjective probability assessment. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 52(2):276–291

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Yechiam E, Barron G, Erev I (2005) The role of personal experience in contributing to different patterns of response to rare terrorist attacks. J Conflict Resolut 49(3):430–439

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Zajonc RB (1980) Feeling and thinking: preferences need no inferences. Am Psychol 35:151–175

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sharon Garyn-Tal.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Appendix: The questionnaire

Appendix: The questionnaire

Part A: EVAR questions

Likert-scale response options ranged from 1 (I agree very much) to 7 (I do not agree at all)

  1. 1.

    When the traffic light turns yellow, I tend to accelerate.

  2. 2.

    I feel like I can take on the world.

  3. 3.

    Usually, I prefer adventures over routine.

  4. 4.

    I seek the thrill of danger.

  5. 5.

    I am open to (verbal) confrontation.

  6. 6.

    Usually, I give priority to action rather than reason.

  7. 7.

    I am sure of myself.

  8. 8.

    I am always right.

  9. 9.

    I emphasize speed rather than precision.

Part B: Risk Perception

Likert-scale response options ranged from 1 (I agree very much) to 7 (I do not agree at all)

  1. 1.

    I will get hurt in a terror attack (other than in the army) in the coming year.

  2. 2.

    I will probably be a victim of a violent crime (not terror) in the coming year.

  3. 3.

    I will probably get hurt in a car accident in the coming year.

Part C: Army Service

  1. 1.

    Are you currently serving or have you ever served in the army? Yes/No

  2. 2.

    Are you currently a soldier? Yes/No

  3. 3.

    Are you currently serving or have you served in the past as a combat soldier? Yes/No

  4. 4.

    Have you participated in real combat (and not practice) during your service? Yes/No

Part D: Personal Characteristics

  • Age------------ Gender------------

  • How do you define yourself religiously? Ultra-orthodox/religious/traditional/secular/other

  • The mean gross monthly income for an Israeli household is 13,000NIS. Your parents’ household income is: much higher than the mean/higher than the mean/mean/lower than the mean/much lower than the mean

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Garyn-Tal, S., Shahrabani, S. Relations between type of army service, incidental emotions and risk perceptions. Mind Soc 19, 61–76 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11299-020-00224-6

Download citation

Keywords

  • Army service
  • Combat soldiers
  • Incidental emotions
  • Risk perception