Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Leadership in the United States Army is essential for successful completion of domestic and international missions. Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs are used to effectively develop leadership skills within the Army. Physical training (PT) is a mandatory component in ROTC, used to improve physical ability and prepare cadets for the rigors of the “big Army” environment. Resiliency and selfless service development are seen as critical elements of leadership, yet little is known about the formal and informal experiences in ROTC PT that facilitate or hinder resiliency and selfless service during early career preparation. The overall purpose of this dissertation was to provide insight into the development of cadets’ resiliency and selfless service in the context of PT. Two qualitative studies were used to address these issues. The purpose of the first study was to investigate resiliency development in an ROTC PT context. The Army recognizes five dimensions of resiliency, which maximize solders’ fortitude and mental toughness. Failure, challenge, and support played significant roles in cadets’ development of resiliency dimensions. Lack of support and organization were the greatest contributors to lack of resiliency throughout the battalion. Overall, ROTC PT improved specific dimensions of resiliency in effort to produce successful leaders in the United States Army. The purpose of the second qualitative study was to investigate selfless service development in an ROTC PT context using Identity Fusion Theory- used in situations where individuals are willing to make significant personal sacrifices on behalf of a group. Results underscored how cadets’ identity became increasingly fused with the ROTC organization through exposure to emotionally charged experiences. Fighting for a high placement on the Order of Merit List facilitated peer competition, which both increased potential for identity fusion and negative self-centric influences on selfless service. Furthermore, results indicated that assigned leadership roles throughout the program were also critical in evolving a cadet’s brain from self-centric to Army-centric (i.e. selfless behavior). Overall, results provided insight into resiliency and selfless service development among United States Army ROTC cadets in PT. Implications for cadre and other leaders as well as suggestions for future research are included.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Garn, Alex



Included in

Kinesiology Commons