The Person-Event Data Environment: leveraging big data for studies of psychological strengths in soldiers
Journal Article - Open Access
Positive Psychology Center of the University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia United States
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The Department of Defense DoD strives to efficiently manage the large volumes of administrative data collected and repurpose this information for research and analyses with policy implications. This need is especially present in the United States Army, which maintains numerous electronic databases with information on more than one million Active-Duty, Reserve, and National Guard soldiers, their family members, and Army civilian employees. The accumulation of vast amounts of digitized health, military service, and demographic data thus approaches, and may even exceed, traditional benchmarks for Big Data. Given the challenges of disseminating sensitive personal and health information, the Person-Event Data Environment PDE was created to unify disparate Army and DoD databases in a secure cloud-based enclave. This electronic repository serves the ultimate goal of achieving cost efficiencies in psychological and healthcare studies and provides a platform for collaboration among diverse scientists. This paper provides an overview of the uses of the PDE to perform command surveillance and policy analysis for Army leadership. The paper highlights the confluence of both economic and behavioral science perspectives elucidating empirically-based studies examining relations between psychological assets, health, and healthcare utilization. Specific examples explore the role of psychological assets in major cost drivers such as medical expenditures both during deployment and stateside, drug use, attrition from basic training, and low reenlistment rates. Through creation of the PDE, the Army and scientific community can now capitalize on the vast amounts of personnel, financial, medical, training and education, deployment, and security systems that influence Army-wide policies and procedures.
- Military Forces and Organizations