Promoting Psychological Resilience in the U.S. Military

By Lisa S. Meredith; Cathy D. Sherbourne et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
Literature and Expert Review to Identify Factors That
Promote Resilience

In this chapter, we discuss the approach taken and findings from the literature review on factors associated with psychological resilience.1 We first present the data describing the numbers and types of documents reviewed. We follow with data on evidence ratings for the initial list of resilience factors and then present what we found in the literature, organized by each of the final factors.


Approach

Literature Search

As the first stage of our study,2 we conducted a review of literature to identify evidenceinformed strategies for promoting psychological resilience to stress. We employed a primary database search that covered the literature from January 1, 2000, up to March 20, 2009. After this primary search, we also conducted a secondary search that involved hand-searching the reference lists provided in key literature review articles and book chapters. We also augmented the literature database with documents provided by the DCoE staff and any documents that were provided by program contacts through the program review process that occurred later in the study.

Search Parameters. Our primary search included identifying peer-reviewed citations from the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) Private Scientific and

1 Our goal was to identify and describe the various factors that were contained in the literature, based on a qualitative analysis of the available studies. We did not make an attempt to determine how these factors align or are consistent across studies or programs. As such, the factors should be considered an organizing structure that reflects the literature. A principle component factor analysis of the variance, broadly termed “resilience,” would be a logical next step. Such an approach would involve scoring the variety of variables, which we’ve termed “factors,” that the literature claims to be enhancers of resilience. Using this method, empirically derived factors, based on clusters of related variance, could be combined and weighted to understand how resilience is actually strengthened or enhanced. Even this strategy, however, would require a degree of researcher judgment, not only for defining the scoring scheme for the factored variables, but also for interpreting the resulting factors or components.

2 The study protocol was reviewed by the institutional review boards (IRBs) at both RAND and the DoD. RAND approved the study with exempt status (i.e., research that is exempt from ethical review because the only involvement of human subjects falls within certain categories) on December 16, 2008. The TRICARE Management Activity also conducted a second level review of our protocol and also approved the study as exempt on January 23, 2009.

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