“Refinement and Validation of an Awareness Training Program”
The goal of the proposed project is to provide the Army with a brief, well-validated, internet-based training program for enhancing Awareness Training and resilience skills. This project will address the needs outlined for the Military Operational Medicine Research Program, particularly with regard to enhancing Psychological Health and Resilience. The fundamental approach of the project directly addresses the need to "develop psychological resilience among Service members and families to promote well-being and prevent behavioral health outcomes." Addressing this need is crucial, as military personnel are often required to serve under dangerous and emotionally stressful conditions. Prolonged stress or exposure to very intense life threatening experiences, such as those encountered in combat or other hazardous duty deployments can increase the risk of developing mental health problems including depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One possible way to minimize the effects of these stressful experiences on Service members is to strengthen their emotional flexibility, adaptability, and capacity to cope with adversity before they find themselves faced with such situations. To fill this need, the investigators propose to provide the military with a web-based program that focuses on enhancing Awareness Training, a core set of trainable awareness skills that collectively include the capacity to understand, perceive, control, and use emotions effectively. While the previous pilot program was successful in some ways, it needs further research before it is ready for widespread use. The investigators therefore propose to build upon the existing strengths already in the program and redesign the weaker modules to be more effective. Over the course of a four-year study, the investigators propose to develop this program. The proposed Awareness Training program is brief, web-based, easily accessible, and sufficiently focused such that it could be completed by large numbers of military personnel with minimal time burden, leading to rapid enhancement of awareness skills. Such a program could have a significant effect in promoting resilience, interpersonal functioning, and brain health among Service members and their families, while reducing the likelihood of mental health problems among those returning from exposure to potentially traumatic experiences. The central hypothesis is that a set of well designed and targeted training modules addressing core awareness ability domains will significantly enhance measured awareness skills, will translate into improved performance on militarily relevant metrics, and will lead to better mental and emotional health, as well as well being during stressful situations and subsequent cognitive processing.
Internal Awareness Training Program
External Awareness Training Program