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Financial Stress and Behavioral Health in Military Servicemembers: Risk, Resilience, Mechanisms and Targets for Intervention

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Conference Proceedings

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Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services Bethesda United States

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The goal of this Forum on Health and National Security was to address financialstress in the lives of servicemembers and identify knowledge gaps and opportunities for gaining new knowledge that can lead to new and improved intervention programs. Financial stress directly and indirectly affects servicemembers mental and behavioral health as well as servicemember and family functioning. Understanding financial stress can aid in developing effective programs to mitigate this stress and help servicemembers and families in need. The Forum reviewed the complexity of defining financial stress and the interplay of financial stress in the web of life stressors that impact servicemembers and their families.The Forum brought together military and civilian leaders and scientists with expertise in risk and resilience, behavioral health, economics, models of stress behavior, and suicide to address the financial challenges faced by servicemembersand their families. Participants were challenged to develop new perspectives by synthesizing knowledge across diverse disciplines to better understand the complex issues of financial stress and associated life stressors, and risk and resilience factors moderating this stress. The Forum attendees also reviewed critical literature assembled from detailed searches, contributions by attendees as well as case studies and illustrations of the interactions of financial stress with life stressors and events. The Forum succeeded in identifying gaps in our knowledge and research recommendations to better understand financial stress and inform programmatic interventions for military servicemembers and their families.

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