Objective: The aim of this study was to examine psychosocial factors associated with military fitness class, classified as capability of service, vs. temporary or permanent exemption from service.
Method: Participants were 2,340 (80% of the original sample) Finnish 18-year-old men at call-up for obligatory military service who filled in the Young Adult Self-Report (YASR) questionnaire.
Results: Temporary exemption from military service was independently associated with the YASR total problem score, externalizing and internalizing problems, excessive alcohol use, drug use, problems with peers and family, and mental health service use. Permanent exemption was independently associated with problems with peers and family.
Conclusion: The YASR is a potential selection tool to be used at call-up. Temporary exemption was more strongly associated with psychosocial problems than permanent exemption. Because of the high level of psychological problems among those temporarily exempted, the call-up situation offers a unique opportunity to identify those with problem behaviour and risk of marginalization.