Personality Traits of Special Forces Operators: Comparing Commandos, Candidates, and Controls

Rik Huijzer*, Bertus F. Jeronimus, Anniek Reehoorn, Frank Blaauw, Maurits Baatenburg de Jong, Peter de Jonge, Ruud den Hartigh

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

3 Citaten (Scopus)
657 Downloads (Pure)


Dutch special forces operators, also known as commandos, perform inmentally and physically tough environments. An important question for recruitment and selection of commandos is whether they have particular personality traits. To answer this question, we first examined differences in personality traits between 110 experienced Dutchmale commandos and a control sample of 275 men in the same age range. Second, we measured the personality traits at the start of the special forces selection program and compared the scores of candidates who later graduated (n = 53) or dropped out (n = 138). Multilevel Bayesian models and t tests revealed that commandos were less neurotic (d = −0.58), more conscientious (d = 0.45), and markedly less open to experiences (d = −1.13) than the matched civilian group. Furthermore, there was a tendency for graduates to be less neurotic (d = −0.27) and more conscientious (d = 0.24) than dropouts. For selection, personality traits do not appear discriminative enough for graduation success and other factors need to be accounted for as well, such as other psychological constructs and physical performance. On the other hand, these results provide interesting clues for using personality traits to recruit people for the special forces program

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)369–381
Aantal pagina's13
TijdschriftSport, Excercise and Performance Psychology
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
StatusPublished - 2022

Citeer dit