Searching for an Adequate Stressor to Practice Stress Management Skill Prior to Deployment – The Potential of Immersion in Stressful 3-D Games


  1. Bernier, F.
  2. Bouchard, S.
  3. Dumoulin, S.
  4. Guitard, T.
  5. Laforest, M.
  6. Boivin, E.
  7. Robillard, G.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Valcartier, Valcartier QUE (CAN)
This study tested the efficacy of two commercial 3-D video games to elicit a significant level of stress and compared three immersive stereoscopic technologies–a 22-inch monitor, a 73-inch monitor and a CAVE™. Fifty-six soldiers returning from Afghanistan were recruited and randomly assigned to one of five conditions in which they played either the 3-D games “Killing Floor” or “Left 4 Dead” while immersed using the different technologies. As a control and reference comparison of induced stress, participants were exposed to a standardized stressful procedure. Subjective data were collected using the State Anxiety scale for all participants but extremely slow scores cast doubt on the validity of the results on this variable. Repeated measures ANOVAs revealed statistically significant increase in heart rate and respiration rate while playing the 3-D games and during the TSST. No significant group or interactions effects were found. Increases in physiological arousal were significant when comparing the baseline to the immersion and to the TSST, but not when comparing both stressors. Immersion in 3-D games is proposed as a practical and cost-effective option to practice SMT.
Report Number
DRDC-VALCARTIER-SL-2011-438 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
31 Jul 2013
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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