Study: CF Snipers “coping as well or better than regular soldiers”

If the picture you have of snipers in your head is based on the movie image of  the ice cold crazed loner who loves to kill, here’s a summary of some research showing that Canadian snipers surveyed are doing just fine, thanks:

This paper reports on the research conducted in the first year of a three-year study on the psychological well-being of snipers. This research began with an interview-based study of 19 snipers who had served in Afghanistan and who were still serving as snipers in Canadian army units. The results of this study show that the snipers had elevated scores on a generalized measure of psychological stress, but their scores were not as high as those of a sample of nonsnipers (from another study) who had served in Afghanistan. This finding suggests that the snipers were coping as well or better than regular soldiers. When asked about specific combat experiences, the differences were more dramatic, however. Snipers experienced more combat than the non-sniper group and expressed more concern over their combat experiences than the non-snipers. In contrast to these findings, the snipers also expressed high levels of satisfaction with their careers and stated that being a sniper had been a positive influence in their lives. Given the inconsistency of these findings, it is proposed that this research be expanded to include more standardized measures of possible outcomes and a larger sample during the second and third years of the project.

J. Peter Bradley (Department of Military Psychology and Leadership, Royal Military College of Canada), “An Exploratory Study on Sniper Well-Being:  Report on the First Year of Sniper Well-Being Research (FY 2008-2009),” DRDC, July 2010 (link to

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