An explanatory model of underwater adaptation

Joaquín Colodro, Enrique J. Garcés-de-los-Fayos, Juan J. López-García, Lucía Colodro-Conde


The underwater environment is an extreme environment that requires a process of human adaptation with specific psychophysiological demands to ensure survival and productive activity. From the standpoint of existing models of intelligence, personality and performance, in this explanatory study we have analyzed the contribution of individual differences in explaining the adaptation of military personnel in a stressful environment. Structural equation analysis was employed to verify a model representing the direct effects of psychological variables on individual adaptation to an adverse environment, and we have been able to confirm, during basic military diving courses, the structural relationships among these variables and their ability to predict a third of the variance of a criterion that has been studied very little to date. In this way, we have confirmed in a sample of professionals (N = 575) the direct relationship of emotional adjustment, conscientiousness and general mental ability with underwater adaptation, as well as the inverse relationship of emotional reactivity. These constructs are the psychological basis for working under water, contributing to an improved adaptation to this environment and promoting risk prevention and safety in diving activities.


Individual differences; military diving; psychological models; structural equation analysis; underwater adaptation

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