Vol 69, No 4 (2018)
Review article
Published online: 2018-12-20

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Personality profiles of divers: integrating results across studies

Charles H. Van Wijk1
Pubmed: 30589070
IMH 2018;69(4):297-303.


Background: There are numerous reports on diver personality, spanning across five decades, across national boundaries, and using a range of measures to describe diver profiles. However, the range of reports poses challenges to interpreting new studies, particularly when having to compare findings across generations, measurements, and national/cultural contexts. This paper aimed to review and integrate diver personality descriptions, drawing on the available studies that reported trait theory based data for naval and sport divers. Materials and methods: Available studies on diver personality — associated with trait theory — were tabulated and the specific traits associated with divers described. Their findings were then integrated into a synthesised description of personality traits. Results: The results suggest remarkably stable military diver profiles across generations, measures, and navies, with some unique differences observed due to national-cultural variables. It was of particular interest that different measures of personality appeared to present related constructions of diver profiles. Navy divers share, among others, a propensity for adventurousness, a strong sense of self-agency, and low trait anxiety. Unsurprisingly, personality profiling could not be generalised across military-civilian diving contexts, and the same clear profile differentiation of navy divers was not visible among sport divers. Conclusions: Contemporary local data — in the context of military diving — could productively be compared to the body of existing reports, at least where similar theoretical models are used.

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