Impact of psychological wellbeing and perceived combat readiness on willingness to deploy in the SANDF : an exploratory study
Thesis (MComm)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is deploying locally, regionally and internationally for peacekeeping operations and tasks other than peacekeeping. It is imperative that it succeed in these missions in order for the country, region and the world to develop. However, in order for the SANDF to realize success those responsible for the task of peacekeeping have to be combat ready, and particularly perceive themselves to be combat ready, they have to measure high on psychological wellbeing and should have no psychosocial and/or psychological problems such as depression, anxiety and social dysfunction, but must have a high level of willingness to deploy. SANDF deployment in Africa is voluntary and depends on those members who are willing to deploy to extract Africa out of the mire of squalor and poverty and conflict. It is only when there is peace that development and proper governance can be achieved, hence the need to use the SANDF as a foreign policy tool to bring about peace in Africa. The aim of the study was to explore the impact of psychological wellbeing (PWB) general health (GH) and perceived combat readiness (PCR) on willingness to deploy (WD) in the SANDF. A non-experimental, exploratory study was employed this study. Participants were drawn from the Army (n=465) from the rank of private to colonel. Participants completed valid reliable instruments measuring PWB; PCR; GH; and WD. PWB was measured in terms of self-acceptance, positive relations with others, autonomy, purpose in life, environmental mastery, and personal growth. PCR was measured in terms of family support, confidence (in all its dimensions), morale, and cohesion and unit discipline. GH was measured in terms of somatic symptoms, anxiety/insomnia, social dysfunction and depression. WD was measured by using 12 questions with a sample question such as: “In the event of an invasion by an enemy force into the RSA, to what extent will you be willing to go into combat?” Correlation analysis was done to determine the relationship between the independent variables and the dependent variable. Multiple regression analysis was done to determine which of the independent variables contributed most to WD of members of the SANDF The results revealed a significant positive relationship between PWB (and its dimensions, except self-acceptance and positive relations with others) and WD, and PCR (and its dimensions, except unit disciple) and WD. GH was annulled for its potential not to explain any variance in the model because almost all participants scored zero on all subscales. The multiple regression analysis was in line with correlation results showing that total PCR (strongest predictor) made a significant contribution in explaining and predicting WD. PWB made a contribution in explaining and predicting WD, but not as strong as PCR. The PCR dimensions that individually contribute significantly in explaining and predicting WD are self-confidence, horizontal cohesion and confidence in the leader. The conclusion that is drawn from this study is that total PCR and total PWB contribute to willingness to deploy.