To prevent deployment-related disorders, Chaos Driven Situations Management Retrieval System (CHARLY), a computer-aided training platform with a biofeedback interface has been developed. It simulates critical situations photorealistic for certain target and occupational groups. CHARLY was evaluated as a 1.5 days predeployment training method comparing it with the routine training. The evaluation was carried out for a matched random sample of N = 67 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan (International Security Assistance Force). Data collection took place before and after the prevention program and 4 to 6 weeks after deployment, which included mental state, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, knowledge of and attitude toward PTSD, and deployment-specific stressors. CHARLY has been significantly superior to the control group in terms of psychoeducation and attitude change. As to the mental state, both groups showed a significant increase in stress after deployment with significant lower increase in CHARLY. For PTSD-specific symptoms, CHARLY achieved a significant superiority. The fact that PTSD-specific scales showed significant differences at the end of deployment substantiates the validity of a specifically preventive effect of CHARLY. The study results tentatively indicate that highly standardized, computer-based primary prevention of mental disorders in soldiers on deployment might be superior to other more personal and less standardized forms of prevention.
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