Walter Sowden

Walter Sowden
Tripler Army Medical Center | TAMC · Department of Behavioral Health

Doctor of Philosophy

About

61
Publications
17,807
Reads
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950
Citations
Citations since 2017
52 Research Items
926 Citations
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Introduction
Broadly speaking, I study social cognition, sleep, behavioral research methods, and military readiness and wellbeing

Publications

Publications (61)
Article
There are replicable inter-individual differences in cognitive responsivity to sleep loss. Genetic allele variations have been linked with behavioral differences in cognitive performance under these conditions, yet less burdensome tests or screeners are not available. This study tested whether a survey can classify U.S. Army Soldiers as cognitively...
Article
Full-text available
The relation between religiosity and well-being is one of the most researched topics in the psychology of religion, yet the directionality and robustness of the effect remains debated. Here, we adopted a many-analysts approach to assess the robustness of this relation based on a new cross-cultural dataset (N = 10, 535 participants from 24 countries...
Article
Introduction: Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common life-threatening genetic illness in the United States. People with CF as well as their caregivers are up to three times more likely to report experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety than those without CF. In 2016, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the European Cystic Fibrosis Society c...
Article
Creating positive change in the direction intended is the goal of organizational interventions. Watts, Gray, and Medeiros (WGM; in press) raise this issue of “side effects,” which include changes that are unintended and often in the opposite direction of the organizational intervention. With our expertise in applied psychology, military psychiatry/...
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Does stepping back to evaluate a situation from a distanced perspective lead us to be selfish or fair? This question has been of philosophical interest for centuries, and, more recently, the focus of extensive empirical inquiry. Yet, extant research reveals a puzzle: some studies suggest that adopting a distanced perspective will produce more ratio...
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Introduction Musculoskeletal injuries and insufficient sleep are common among U.S. Army Rangers. There has been limited research into whether indices of sleep differ between injured and uninjured Rangers. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between self-reported sleep and musculoskeletal injury in Rangers. Materials and Me...
Article
Rates of suicide in the US Army continue to rise, and by some accounts exceed the general population. This increase has renewed efforts to identify protective factors that may inform novel suicide prevention strategies. Previous research has demonstrated that a sense of purpose in life and perceived cohesion with military peers are related to a red...
Article
Loyalty has long been associated with being moral and upstanding, but recent research has begun documenting how loyalty can lead people to do unethical things. Here we offer an integrative perspective on loyalty and its outcomes. We suggest that a variety of bottom-up and top-down psychological processes lead individuals to be loyal to people and o...
Article
Introduction Extended, overseas operations (deployments) increase the likelihood that military personnel will experience psychological distress. Reduced sleep during deployments is a key correlate of psychological distress. Thus, it is imperative to identify mechanisms that adaptively modulate the relationship between insufficient sleep and psychol...
Article
Introduction U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Advanced Camp (AC) is a month-long capstone course that evaluates Cadet leadership. Although the relationship between sleep and objective performance is well established, less is known about how sleep may impact self-perception of performance, especially in the military context. This stud...
Article
Introduction Insufficient sleep is ubiquitous among active duty service members in operational settings. Although insufficient sleep has been linked to poor cognitive, psychological, and physiological outcomes in military populations, little research has investigated the impact of insufficient sleep on Soldier occupational wellbeing. This study exa...
Article
Introduction U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Advanced Camp (AC) is a 29-day training that assesses military skills and leadership potential in college students training to become Commissioned Officers (i.e. Cadets). Military trainings are widely known to disrupt normative sleep. Additionally, operational sleep disruption is linked t...
Article
Introduction Sleep loss that is inherent to military operations can lead to cognitive errors and potential mission failure. Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) allele variations of several genes (COMT, ADORA2A, TNFa, CLOCK, DAT1) have been linked with inter-individual cognitive resilience to sleep loss through various mechanisms. U.S. Army Soldi...
Article
Previous research has established the role of positive emotional cultures such as companionate love and joy in predicting team performance. Building on this work, the present study analyzes the role of positive emotional culture variables as predictors of resilient performance by examining patterns of objective team performance in U.S. Army tank cr...
Preprint
Loyalty has long been associated with being moral and upstanding, but recent research has begun documenting how loyalty can lead us to do unethical things. Here we offer an integrative perspective that explains when and why loyalty leads to both ethical and unethical outcomes. We suggest that a variety of bottom-up and top-down psychological proces...
Article
Objective To assess the relationship between sleep quality and occupational well-being in active duty military Service Members. Design Longitudinal prospective analysis. Setting An annual military training event. Participants US Army special operations Soldiers (n = 60; 100% male; age 25.41 ± 3.74). Intervention None. Measurements The Pittsbur...
Article
Objective Explore the impact transitioning from daytime to nighttime operations has on performance in U.S. Army Rangers. Methods Fifty-four male Rangers (age 26.1 ± 4.0 years) completed the Y-Balance Test (YBT), a vertical jump assessment, and a grip strength test at three times. Baseline testing occurred while the Rangers were on daytime operatio...
Article
Although previous studies have identified behavioral health risks associated with combat exposure, it is unclear which types of combat events are associated with these risks, particularly regarding contrasts among the risks associated with life‐threatening experiences, killing combatants, and exposure to unjust war events, such as killing a noncomb...
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Full-text available
Background: The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) Operational Research Kit-Actigraphy (WORK-A) is a set of unique practice parameters and actigraphy-derived measures for the analysis of operational military sleep patterns. The WORK-A draws on best practices from the literature and comprises 15 additional descriptive variables. Here, w...
Article
Experimental sleep restriction and deprivation lead to risky decision-making. Further, in naturalistic settings, short sleep duration and poor sleep quality have been linked to real-world high-risk behaviors (HRB), such as reckless driving or substance use. Military populations, in general, tend to sleep less and have poorer sleep quality than non-...
Article
Introduction U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Cadets are college students training to be Army Officers. During a month-long capstone course (Advanced Camp), Cadets are rated on their leadership ability. Little work has been done to determine predictors of leadership ability at Advanced Camp. This study examined the effect of poor sle...
Article
Introduction In military service members, high risk-taking behavior (RTB; e.g., looking to start a fight, reckless driving) leads to injury, judicial reprimand, and removal from military service. Consequently, reducing RTB has become a priority of the United States (U.S.) Army, and identifying modifiable antecedents of RTB has become critical. In n...
Article
Introduction Insufficient sleep during military operations is detrimental to cognition, physical performance, and general health outcomes. However, there is evidence of inter-individual differences in resilience to sleep loss. Therefore, some Soldiers may be more resilient to the effects of sleep loss than others. This study examined the relationsh...
Article
Introduction The research on sleep in the social-psychological domain is sparse. Gordon and colleagues (Gordon, Mendes, & Prather, 2017) proposed a bidirectional relationship between sleep and social processes. The current research tests this model in the military by examining the relationship between subjective sleep quality and an important socia...
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Full-text available
We aimed to assess the relationship between subjective sleep quality and occupationally-relevant outcomes in military personnel. Participants were from an elite unit of US Army soldiers who worked extended (~30 h) shifts (with minimal recovery time between shifts) during 3-week work sessions. Questionnaires assessing subjective sleep quality during...
Article
To what extent are research results influenced by subjective decisions that scientists make as they design studies? Fifteen research teams independently designed studies to answer five original research questions related to moral judgments, negotiations, and implicit cognition. Participants from 2 separate large samples (total N > 15,000) were then...
Article
Background: Sleep loss negatively impacts stationary balance in a laboratory setting, but few studies have examined this link in a naturalistic environment. We tested this relationship in U.S. Army soldiers that often undergo mission-driven sleep loss and who conduct high-risk operations on precarious terrain. Methods: Stationary balance was tes...
Article
Full-text available
To what extent are research results influenced by subjective decisions that scientists make as they design studies? Fifteen research teams independently designed studies to answer five original research questions related to moral judgments, negotiations, and implicit cognition. Participants from two separate large samples (total N > 15,000) were th...
Article
Full-text available
People have fundamental tendencies to punish immoral actors and treat close others altruistically. What happens when these tendencies collide—do people punish or protect close others who behave immorally? Across 10 studies ( N = 2,847), we show that people consistently anticipate protecting close others who commit moral infractions, particularly hi...
Article
Introduction Sustained sleep restriction associated with military operations results in a large sample of individuals who present with insomnia-like symptoms. While units deploy and train together, unit hierarchy can result in group differences. Studying active-duty Soldiers presents the unique opportunity to examine how this organization can influ...
Article
Introduction Stressful situations are common in the military, and understanding how stress impacts subjective ratings is important for mission success. Subjective sleepiness, fatigue, and negative mood have been linked to performance impairments. Performance has also been linked to unit-level subjective ratings of perceived state. However, little i...
Article
Introduction Infantry Soldiers are expected to participate in extended tactical missions that can be cognitively and physically demanding. Soldiers are expected to be self-sufficient without re-supply for up to 72 hours. During this time, opportunities for sleep are sporadic and limited, but have not been directly documented. It is therefore import...
Article
Introduction Research has demonstrated that military personnel sleep less and experience poorer quality sleep than the general civilian population and that sleep problems are related to degraded performance. However, differences in methodology for measuring sleep quantity and quality, as well as a lack of operationally-relevant performance metrics...
Article
Introduction Military operations often necessitate extended group-level performance under stressful and high-fatigue situations with few opportunities to rest and recover. Performance impairment has previously been associated with sleep restriction, decreased alertness, and increased fatigue. Less well documented, however, is how these differences...
Article
Introduction Military operations require vigilance and performance under stressful conditions while functioning with little sleep. Performance impairments (i.e., marksmanship, vigilance, executive function) have been linked with reduced sleep duration and sleep quality, as well as perceived sleepiness and fatigue. This research assessed changes in...
Article
Introduction Getting the proper amount of sleep is not a prioritized during military operations. While the Army recognizes that 7-9hrs of sleep is optimal for soldiers to achieve peak performance on the battlefield, the Army considers 4hrs of sleep within a 24hr period to be the minimum requirement. The current study investigated sleep during a sim...
Article
Introduction Although previous studies have highlighted the important role of sleep within occupational settings, few studies have examined the role of sleep on occupational outcomes in high-risk organizations (HRO), where mistakes and errors can have grave consequences. Therefore, the current study examined the relationship between self-reported s...
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Full-text available
Introduction Sleep loss is ubiquitous in military settings, and it can be deleterious to cognitive, physiological, and operational functioning. This is especially true in the military operational context (e.g., training, garrison, combat) where continuous operations prevent adequate time for rest and recuperation. Furthermore, even when servicememb...
Article
Building on research that has identified the negative health impact of cold-weather environments, the present study examines the mental health and health-related behaviors of 585 U.S. soldiers stationed in Alaska. In all, 29.1% reported subjective winter stress. Subjective winter stress was positively correlated with sleep problems, anger, and depr...
Article
Full-text available
We conducted preregistered replications of 28 classic and contemporary published findings, with protocols that were peer reviewed in advance, to examine variation in effect magnitudes across samples and settings. Each protocol was administered to approximately half of 125 samples that comprised 15,305 participants from 36 countries and territories....
Preprint
Full-text available
We conducted preregistered replications of 28 classic and contemporary published findings with protocols that were peer reviewed in advance to examine variation in effect magnitudes across sample and setting. Each protocol was administered to approximately half of 125 samples and 15,305 total participants from 36 countries and territories. Using co...
Article
We conducted preregistered replications of 28 classic and contemporary published findings, with protocols that were peer reviewed in advance, to examine variation in effect magnitudes across samples and settings. Each protocol was administered to approximately half of 125 samples that comprised 15,305 participants from 36 countries and territories....
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Research has shown that sleep loss increases the risk for mental health problems, but very little work has examined this relationship during real-world military operations. The current study measured sleep via self-report and actigraphy, as well as indicators of mental health, during qualification training for a real-world contingency...
Chapter
The military organizational culture influences service members through the use of artifacts, values, and underlying assumptions. Among the explicit and implicit messages conveyed in military culture is the idea that resilience is paramount for individual and unit success. While the emphasis on resilience helps build military-relevant skills, these...
Article
Full-text available
We present the data from a crowdsourced project seeking to replicate findings in independent laboratories before (rather than after) they are published. In this Pre-Publication Independent Replication (PPIR) initiative, 25 research groups attempted to replicate 10 moral judgment effects from a single laboratory’s research pipeline of unpublished fi...
Article
Full-text available
This crowdsourced project introduces a collaborative approach to improving the reproducibility of scientific research, in which findings are replicated in qualified independent laboratories before (rather than after) they are published. Our goal is to establish a non-adversarial replication process with highly informative final results. To illustra...
Article
What factors determine how people decide whether a behavior is right or wrong, good or bad, moral or immoral? Over the past decade-and-a-half, moral psychologists have increasingly identified various psychosocial processes that help answer this question. However, virtually all of this research involves asking people to reason about the behavior of...
Article
Full-text available
The US Army launched the Global Assessment Tool (GAT) – a 105-item psychometric instrument taken by approximately one million soldiers annually – in October, 2009 in support of a population-wide resilience development initiative known as the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) program. The lead developer of the GAT was Chris Peterson, a...
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Full-text available
ENVISION AN ARMY where Soldiers never sit through classes and stacks of PowerPoint slides on ethics and leadership. Imagine an Army without classes focused solely on the seven Army Values. Picture an Army in which character development is intentionally part of literally everything we do. Does it sound far-fetched or unreasonable? It shouldn't. As o...

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