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Occupational psychology in the UK Ministry of Defence
  1. Joanna Harvey
  1. Army Personnel Research Capability, Army Headquarters, Andover SP11 8HJ, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Joanna Harvey, Army Personnel Research Capability, Army Headquarters, Andover SP11 8HJ, UK; Joanna.Harvey110{at}


Psychologists first became prominent within the Armed Forces largely as a result of their contributions to military systems, operations and personnel during the First and Second World Wars. In the early years of the 20th century, as psychology was becoming a profession in its own right, its association with the military arose within the emerging concept of ‘shell shock’ during World War I and supporting selection activities in World War II. There are approximately 25 occupational psychologists currently employed within the Ministry of Defence (MoD), operating across all branches of the MoD, within the department of the Chief of Defence Personnel, the UK Defence Academy and a small number at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. The aim of this paper is to discuss the history and current application of occupational psychology within the UK MoD.

  • psychology
  • military
  • health
  • occupational psychology

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  • Collaborators Nicola Elliott-Mabey; Margaret Bailey; Sarah Wattie; Mark Watton.

  • Contributors JH wrote the article.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.