The Psychological Effects of Wearing a Bulletproof Vest: How it Affects Performance and Wellbeing
In the modern world, body armor and bulletproof vests have become an integral part of protective gear for militaries, law enforcement, and several other professionals. Many civilians also use body armor for personal protection.
Where the physical benefits and impact of wearing these vests day after day is discussed prominently, the same can’t be said about the psychological impacts. Now that isn’t much of a surprise, considering that the psychological effects of any experience usually take quite a bit of time to materialize, unlike the immediate physical effects.
When talking about the widespread use of body armor among military, law enforcement, and civilians, these effects can even take decades to manifest. I believe that we can now start to see some of the Psychological Effects of Wearing Bulletproof Vests as they have been in regular use for almost 3 decades now.
So, let’s look at some of the psychological effects of wearing bulletproof vests.
Like anything else, the psychological impacts of wearing bulletproof vests are diverse, some being positive and some negative as well. However, it is quite obvious at this point that the benefits of wearing bulletproof vests, especially for people in dangerous professions, far outweigh any negative psychological impacts. Still, we are going to take a look at both the good and bad, starting with the positive psychological impacts of wearing bulletproof vests.
- Bulletproof vests can have both positive and negative effects on the wearer.
- They have a psychological impact on criminals, who may be deterred by the presence of bulletproof vests
- Negative effects include stress induced by physical discomfort and fatigue from wearing heavy, stiff, and hot vests for long periods of time
- Vests may also have a psychological impact on observing citizens, who may feel stressed or uncomfortable seeing armed personnel in bulletproof vests
- To counter the negative impacts, make sure to use high quality vests, that are comfortable, and fit properly
One of the biggest benefits of bulletproof vests, aside from ballistic protection, is increased confidence. When a soldier, police officer, or even civilian is wearing body armor, the threat of losing their life to a gunshot is reduced dramatically, which gives them a sense of safety, and as a result, more confidence.
When wearing body armor, police officers can take more risks and use more aggressive methods to engage in threats and protect civilians. Similarly, in a self-defense situation, a civilian wearing body armor is more confident in their ability to defend their home and family.
A study from 2002, which was also published in the Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology also strengthens this point. This study surveyed police officers about their perceptions of body armor and its impact on their performance, and it was found that officers who wore body armor on duty, felt safer and more confident.
Peace of Mind:
Professionals like the military and law enforcement constantly work in dangerous environments, which can be stressful for them and their families. One of the best achievements of bulletproof vests is their ability to give these people some much-needed peace of mind.
Knowing that your family isn’t constantly worried about your safety and you have a reliable additional layer of protection against fatal ballistic threats can significantly improve your mental peace, allowing you to be more attentive on the job, make better decisions, and ultimately have a better family life as well.
Now, Let’s move on to the negative psychological impacts.
Stress Induced by Physical Discomfort and Fatigue:
One of the most prominent negative impacts of wearing body armor for long periods is physical discomfort and fatigue. Bulletproof vests have improved over the years, but they still aren’t something that you would call comfortable.
They can be heavy, stiff, and hot, especially in warm and humid environments. Additionally, many police officers, and especially military personnel, have to carry a lot of heavy gear on their vests.
This regular physical discomfort can lead to stress and impair your ability to rest properly even when you aren’t wearing armor. Consistent stress can have quite debilitating impacts on a human’s mind. This, paired with the regular stress that the life of a soldier or police officer naturally has, can be quite problematic.
Luckily, this psychological impact of body armor can be countered quite effectively. First of all, you should get a properly fitting vest since vests that are loose or too tight can be very uncomfortable. Additionally, look for high-quality bulletproof vests, which come with moisture-wicking mesh liners on the inside. These features can help with the circulation of air and make the vest cooler.
Flexcore Lightweight Armor Panels.
Ace Link Armor has a wide range of comfortable bulletproof vests, along with their super thin and flexible Flexcore Armor panels, that are designed to be lightweight, and conform to the wearer’s body, resulting in an extremely comfortable body armor setup.”
Psychological Effect of Wearing Bulletproof Vests on Observing Citizens:
The increased use of bulletproof vests also has a psychological impact on people who aren’t wearing them. For instance, looking at police officers or security personnel kitted up in bulletproof vests around you can affect your mental state.
In some places, like an Airport, or public events, looking at police officers wearing bulletproof vests may give you a sense of comfort, knowing that you are secure, whereas, at the same time, it may make you feel stressed as if there is a threat looming around. More often than not, looking at armed and kitted police officers, especially civilians, will make most people uncomfortable.
This is one of the reasons why police departments in the US issue concealed bulletproof vests that police officers wear under their uniforms. However, in certain places, security personnel may also deliberately wear overt bulletproof vests to give people a sense of security and order.
Psychological Effect of Wearing Bulletproof Vests on Criminals
Lastly, let’s talk about how wearing bulletproof vests impacts criminals. Bulletproof vests can work as a psychological deterrent for petty criminals. For instance, if some robber breaks into a house and sees an armed citizen wearing body armor in front of them, they are likelier to high tail out of there rather than continue the robbery. Similarly, police officers kitted up with bulletproof vests are significantly more menacing for small criminals than police officers in normal uniforms.
So, to put it all together, body armor has been in prominent use for over three decades now, and we are starting to see the psychological effects it can have on people who wear it regularly. For the most part, the Psychological effects of wearing bulletproof vests are positive, but like anything else, there can be some negative effects as well. Unfortunately, there aren’t many studies that explore the psychological effects of wearing body armor on people. Still, we have collected our thoughts and experiences in this post, which we hope is informative and interesting to read.