Performance under Stress

By Abboud, Dave | Military Review, September-October 2009 | Go to article overview

Performance under Stress


Abboud, Dave, Military Review


PERFORMANCE UNDER STRESS, edited by Peter A. Hancock and James L. Szalma, Ashgate Publishing Company, Burlington, VT, 2008, 389 pages, $99.95.

Stress is an integral part of the human condition, and it can influence our performance significantly. Peter A. Hancock and James L. Szalma introduce a collection of 17 essays written by leading researchers that explore how stress influences human performance in the contemporary operating environment. Sharing a common research framework, the authors use different methodological and conceptual approaches to provide unambiguous and concise answers on their respective topics. Although the book deals with Soldier performance, the information can be applied to stressful environments in general.

While the book's focus is on the diverse stressors and coping mechanisms, additional insights are provided on fatigue, cognitive readiness, information processing, decision making, team dynamics, and conditioning. Some traditional myths are refuted with empirical data. For example, a study of the effects of sleep deprivation on modern Soldiers during long-term operations demonstrates that "four hours of sleep for leaders and six for soldiers" is insufficient and potentially dangerous. …

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