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Identification of and At-Risk Interventions for Pre-Deployment Psychophysiologic Predictors of PostDeployment Mental Health Outcomes

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Final rept. 15 Sep 2008-14 Mar 2014

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Objectives and Rationale The primary objectives of this study Warriors Achieving Resilience or WAR were to develop objective pre-deployment predictors of PTSD and test two pre-deployment resiliency interventions. Objective predictors include 1 physiologic reactivity to combat-related virtual reality environments and white noise startle and 2 cognitive bias assessment. We also will test two pre-deployment resiliency interventions 1 video game-based heart rate variability biofeedback training and 2 computerized cognitive bias training. Objective assessment and training measures are more reliably measured and could be early indicators of resiliencevulnerability. Study Design Longitudinal prediction study and randomized controlled trial to prevent post-deployment PTSD symptoms. 600 soldiers were consented with the goal of completing 500 pre-deployment assessments. Pre-deployment data collection for was completed for 427 soldiers, 411 soldiers deployed. Subjects were randomized to one of three groups heart rate variability HRV biofeedback training, cognitive bias feedback training, or no additional training. iPods with respective apps were provided to the soldiers in the resilience training groups. Follow-up data was collected at 3- and 12- months post-deployment, 308411 75 and 236411 57, respectively. PTSD symptom severity was measured using the PTSD Checklist. Major Findings Pre-deployment HRV measured by the standard deviation of beat to beat intervals or SDNN was a significant predictor of 3-month post-deployment PTSD symptoms. Low HRV is associated with increased physical and emotional stress. The time between pre-deployment SDNN and post-deployment PTSD symptom measurement was approximately one year. There was an expected inverse relationship between pre-deployment SDNN and 3-month post-deployment PTSD symptoms beta-0.002, p0.006 in a multivariate model with a continuous measure of PTSD symptoms.

Subject Categories:

  • Psychology
  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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