Evaluation of a Technology-Based Adaptive Learning and Prevention Program for Stress Response-A Randomized Controlled Trial

Mil Med. 2016 Aug;181(8):863-71. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-15-00100.


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.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Afghan Campaign 2001-
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude to Health
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning / standards*
  • Male
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Occupations*
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation
  • Psychometrics / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Workforce