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Am J Psychiatry 1965;122:534-541.
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U. S. Navy Medical Neuropsychiatric Research Unit, San Diego, Calif.

1966 by The American Psychiatric Association

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In 1960 and 1961, of 216 recruits adjudged unsuitable by aptitude boards at two naval recruit training commands, 134 were deliberately graduated from training in order to assess their adjustment in the fleet. Two years subsequent to graduation, 97 of these sailors were still on active duty in the Navy and their over-all adjustments, evaluated on the basis of psychiatric follow-up examinations, were not demonstrably different from those of a matched control group.It is suggested that the unexpected high rate of fleet retention among enlistees judged to be unsuitable as recruits occurred because a) many subjects were able to achieve emotional growth and maturity in the supportive and stable environment of the military, despite their pathological backgrounds; b) the fleet was able to utilize the services of some marginally performing enlistees, at least during the first several years of their enlistments; and c) initial training and adjustment problems were, for some youths, merely transitory.

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