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Original Research

Aggressive Behaviour among Military Personnel in Social Situations

Milena Dimitrova, Dancho Dilkov, Dimo Dimov.

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Background and Aims:
The authors of the article, as specialists in the field of military forensic expertise and mental health, present their study on the construct of aggression, as applied to soldiers who show aggressive behaviour towards civilians in conflict situations. This research seeks to establish if there is some correlation between aggression and self-esteem in the abovementioned military subgroup. The hypothesis of the study is that unrealistically elevated self-esteem, combined with low self-criticism, linked to a "sense of untouchability" due to its military rank and title, form the basis for the aggressive behaviour of soldiers towards civilians.
Material and Methods:
For this work, all eleven cases of such aggression reported from 2017 to 2018 have been examined.
To accomplish the objectives of the present study, theoretical and empirical studies of the construct of aggression were carried out using various methodologies: psychiatric examination, psychological tests and interview, study of the collected medical and occupational data of the investigated individuals.
The results indicate that the surveyed individuals are sensitive to the reactions of others towards them and tend to perceive other’s behaviour and actions as aggressive. The individuals surveyed have shown to possess a higher /unrealistic/ level of self-esteem, which, in combination with their comparatively lower levels of self-criticism, is in correlation with the tendency for aggressive behaviour.
The results and conclusions of the current study are of great importance for military mental health professionals who work directly and regularly with soldiers and who look for ways to resolve problems as soon as they occur, as well as improve the efficiency of their training.

Key words: hostility, soldiers, civilians, conflict, social situations, self-esteem

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