Military morale is defined as the enthusiasm and persistence with which a member of the group engages in the prescribed activities of that group and is considered to be closely related to performance. The current study uses the conceptualization of military morale through the elements of work engagement and burnout. Nevertheless, our personality traits, and how we interpret or react to our environment, including group atmosphere, may also be related to perception of morale alongside positive and negative affectivity. The article investigates the relations between perceptions of morale, personality traits (the Big Five) and positive or negative affectivity in a military context.

Participants and procedure:
A sample of Estonian military conscripts (N = 354) from the soldiers’ basic military training course responded to the questionnaire. Three measures were used for data collection: a short personality questionnaire (40 items) for Big Five personality traits; the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS; 20 items) for state affectivity (both positive and negative); and a 16-item instrument for military morale (8 items for both work engagement and burnout). Structural equation modelling was used to evaluate relationships between study variables.

The results indicated that openness to experience and agreeableness did not have a significant effect on military morale (as work engagement and burnout) either directly or indirectly (through affectivity). However, conscientiousness was found to have a significant effect on military morale and extraversion indirectly through positive affectivity. Positive and negative affectivity as the mediators strengthened the relations between personality traits and military morale.

The results emphasize the reinforcing power of positive emotions to enhance high morale.

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