Teaching stress management skils to soldiers – A virtual reality approach

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Authors
  1. Bernier, F.
  2. Bouchard, S.
  3. Boivin, É.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Valcartier, Valcartier QUE (CAN);UNIVERSITE DU QUEBEC EN OUTAOUAIS, GATINEAU QUE (CAN)
Abstract
There is a strong movement in the military to implement programs that foster mental resilience and readiness. One key ingredient in these programs is stress management training (SMT). Traditional approaches to training are limited because of the lack of practice of the skills in stressful situations and of resistance with approaches related to emotion. Virtual reality (VR) and video games (VGs) can help to overcome such limitations; these technologies are appreciated by their users and their effectiveness for training is proven. This report presents the results of a three-year research project on creating and assessing the efficacy of an immersive VG-based training system augmented with biofeedback (Immersion and Practice of Arousal Control Training; ImPACT) for learning to master SMT. Aspects discussed include a review of SMT and the validation of the potential of VGs and VR to induce stress. Also presented are the possible designs for adding biofeedback to VGs. This report concludes with a randomized control trial of lmPACT. Statistical analyses of the heart rate (HR) and salivary cortisol revealed significantly less stress for soldiers trained with lmPACT than those trained as usual. ln addition, soldiers trained with ImPACT performed better and were more confident in their stress coping skills. The immersion in a stressful VG, coupled with biofeedback, was shown to be more effective than training as usual and it has the additional advantage of favouring the "buy-in" of em

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Keywords
Stress management;videogames;virtual reality;biofeedback;immersion
Report Number
DRDC-VALCARTIER-TR-2013-057 — Technical Report
Date of publication
01 Apr 2013
Number of Pages
138
DSTKIM No
CA046617
CANDIS No
806994
Format(s):
Electronic Document(PDF)

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