Preparing soldiers for the stress of combat

J Spec Oper Med. Summer 2012;12(2):33-41.

Abstract

Protracted use of stressors during military training courses does not necessarily enhance a Soldier?s ability to regulate stress on the battlefield. Extensive stress during training can be a contributing factor to suboptimal neurologic and overall long-term health. Prolonged high-stress military training programs, as well as extended duration combat deployments, should be comprehensively scrutinized for opportunities to preserve health and increase combat effectiveness. Contemporary research in neuroscience and psychology can provide insight into training techniques that can be used to control stress and optimize performance in combat. Physical fitness training programs can elevate the stress threshold. Extensive situational training can also inoculate Soldiers to specific combat stressors. Training methods such as these will enable Soldiers to achieve higher levels of performance while under enemy fire and are encouraged for units deploying to combat.

Keywords: combat stress, military training, military deployment, physical training, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep deprivation, stress inoculation training.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Military Personnel* / psychology
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic*
  • Stress Disorders, Traumatic
  • Stress, Psychological