LETTER: An inconvenient truth about personalities

Andre Piver wonders if people with high-risk jobs are predisposed to certain personality traits.

Re: Helping homeless vets

While in no way reducing our responsibility to support those that have put themselves at risk on behalf of us all, a missing piece relevant to this issue and also relevant to many other self-selected groups e.g. physicians, policemen, psychiatrists, prison guards, etc. is the potential over-representation (a larger percentage than what is to be found in the general population) of particular traits in people who show up for unusual occupations. Some of these may be predisposed to particular patterns of behaviour or particular vulnerabilities.

Post traumatic stress disorder is recognized as not occurring in an entirely “dose of trauma dependent” pattern (i.e. only certain individuals are predisposed). There are many unusual occupations (particularly those where there is access to weapons, power over others and exposure to potential trauma) where we need to be grateful that individuals are willing to step forward to fill these difficult roles, however we would ideally be screening individuals who show up, with regards to personality traits which may be problematic if they are quite strong.

There are a number of objective and validated personality tests which have been long available. Is there the political will to address this inconvenient truth?

Andre C. Piver, Procter

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