Non-Cognitive Personality Assessment and Risk of Injuries Among Army Trainees

Alexis A. Oetting, Nadia U. Garvin, Michael R. Boivin, David N. Cowan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction Low levels of pre-accession physical fitness and activity are risk factors for stress fractures and other overuse musculoskeletal injuries among military trainees. One dimension in the Tailored Adaptive Personality Assessment System (TAPAS), a non-cognitive personality test given to Army applicants, specifically assesses propensity to engage in physical activity. This dimension may serve as a surrogate measure for activity or fitness. The study examines the associations between TAPAS dimension scores and risk of musculoskeletal injuries. Methods Fifteen TAPAS dimension scores for 15,082 U.S. Army trainees entering military service in 2010 were provided by the U.S. Army Research Institute for Social and Behavioral Sciences. During 2013–2015, the associations between TAPAS dimension scores (as a continuous variable) and injuries in the first 6 months of service were evaluated using logistic regression, with the measure of association being the OR. Results The TAPAS physical conditioning dimension was associated with musculoskeletal injuries and stress fractures among both men (musculoskeletal injury, OR=0.83, 95% CI=0.79, 0.86; stress fracture, OR=0.68, 95% CI=0.57, 0.80) and women (musculoskeletal injury, OR=0.77, 95% CI=0.70, 0.85; stress fracture, OR=0.60, 95% CI=0.43, 082). No other dimensions were both significantly and consistently associated with either injury. Conclusions The TAPAS physical conditioning dimension is a strong predictor of musculoskeletal injury and stress fracture among male and female U.S. Army trainees, and may serve as a pre-accession screen for self-reported physical activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-330
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


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