Comparing Different Versions of Road to Mental Readiness to Determine Optimal Content: Testing Instruction Type, Homework, and Intelligence Effects at Two Timepoints
Defence Research and Development Canada - Toronto Research Centre Toronto, Ontario Canada
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Observations of Road To Mental Readiness R2MR mental health training sessions at the Basic Military Qualification BMQ over a two-year period from 2012 to 2014, and a series of studies conducted during the same time period revealed problems with the delivery, the receipt, and the enactment of R2MR concepts and skills. The primary purpose of this study was to compare the two different versions Versions 5 and 6 of R2MR that were recently developed to identify the version that may lead to better receipt and enactment of key R2MR concepts, especially stress management and Cognitive Restructuring skills. A secondary objective was to examine the effects of providing supplemental homework booklets for practicing R2MR conceptsBig 4 skills outside of the 160-minute classroom session. Given the statistically significant and robust effects of intelligence on the uptake and application of R2MR skills observed in a previous study, the current study controlled for the effects of intelligence in looking at the effects of version and homework. The study was a mixed methods design with two between subjects variables Homework versus No Homework and Version 5 versus Version 6 and one within subjects variable Time 1 versus Time 2. It was conducted over a 16-day period which included data collection at two time points. Four platoons approximately 200 recruits participated in the study. Findings show that Version 5, which was shorter and less technical, consistently outperformed Version 6. Contrary to our hypotheses, supplemental homework did not show beneficial effects on learning. These findings suggest that keeping R2MR material simple and straightforward may lead to better retention of R2MR concepts and also that there may be a natural limit to how much learning can be expected to take place in a single exposure of R2MR.