What is Military Psychology?

The Society of Military Psychology defines military psychology as a study that promotes research and applies its findings to military life.   This discipline or branch of study is one of the first applications of scientific psychology. Public interest of characteristics experienced during war such as combat stress, training for war, public opinion about war, military strategies, and intricacies of decision-making applied in a military field have led to the first studies in this field.


Military psychology is also defined as the application of psychological principles, theories and methods.  These are used to evaluate, select, assign duties and train of military personnel as well as the design of military equipment. This field of applied psychology also includes the application of counseling techniques and clinics for the maintenance of morale and mental health in military environments and covers human functioning in a wide variety of settings during times of war and peace.

Job Duties and Compensation

Military Psychology includes the application of counseling techniques and mental health clinics services to assist military personnel with their self-confidence and mental well-being.  Hence, counseling in all areas of the military, allows service personnel to cope with their environment and changing situations. Military psychology covers human functioning in a wide variety of settings during times of war and peace. This branch of psychology also entails research, design, and development of psychological theories as well as prediction of the behavior of military personnel during combat and its effects on the civilian population.

The duties of a psychologist working with the military focus not only on active duty issues, but also the psycho-social well-being of the soldiers.  In a normal day, the duties of a Military Psychologist can cover issues of soldier selection for specific tasks, stress, misconduct, motivating optimism, resilience, hardiness training, gender bias, and the well-being of their families during their absence.

In recent years the demand for Military Psychology has increased due to well-publicized issues such as sexual orientation and an increase in suicide statistics in the Military. Symptoms such as depression and difficulty in adapting to military life, are signs that can be uncovered by a military psychologist.

Military psychology is an application of the study of the human mind in a military framework.  By focusing on mental health and the mitigation of stress factors specific to life in the military, mental health is preserved.  Some of the areas that are covered in Military Psychology include:

  • Suicide Prevention
  • Substance abuse and gaming addiction
  • Terrorism, home and abroad
  • Homeland crisis intervention
  • Psychological intervention due to traumas
  • PTSD
  • Combat Stress

A popular employment search platform posts salaries for Military Psychologists starting at $80,000 per year.  Some of the duties related to the position of Military Psychologist include working with soldiers and their families in a variety of situations, conducting critical research, improving mental and behavioral disorders, preventing mental illness and promoting effective mental health.  Military Psychologists not only conduct but also supervise patient care and are involved in planning and executing disease prevention and health promotion programs.


The training requirements of a Military Psychologist entail a bachelor’s degree, followed by a master’s and a doctorate, which includes an internship within the military.  In addition, a Military Psychologist must pass board exams and local licensing requirements.  In most cases, prior military experience is recommended along with empathetic character qualities.

Military psychology is a needed profession and worthy of consideration.  The effects of military life on our servicemen and women can be stressful not only physically and psychologically but socially as well. Military Psychology requires the study of different situations and behavioral traits both in and out of combat to help benefit the well-being of our military personnel.

Sources: Psychology Today, National Institute of Health, RAND Corporation

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