Stress Response as a Function of Task Relevance
SPACE AND NAVAL WARFARE SYSTEMS CENTER PACIFIC SAN DIEGO CA
Pagination or Media Count:
A laboratory study was conducted to evaluate the impact of task relevance--the relation between task characteristics and an individuals skill set--on the stress response of Marine Corps Infantrymen, and to evaluate the sensitivity of several stress measures to distinctions of task relevance. The stress task involved a difficult simulated ground combat mission using Virtual Battlespace 2 VBS2, presented on a laptop computer. Stress response measures included two self-report questionnaires and two salivary hormones cortisol and nerve growth factor collected at several points in the testing session. Results confirmed that the VBS2 task was effective in generating a significant stress response. Differences in stress response were also found between Marines and civilians, and between sub-groups of Marines, that supported the concept of task relevance. Each stress measure proved effective in some, but not all, comparisons, which highlighted the caution required in applying and interpreting such measures, or in relying on any single tool for general stress evaluation. Results are discussed in terms of stress models and the potential of stress measurement tools for military field use.