result of exposure to stressors and that the focus should be on skill training. If individuals can achieve automaticity or robustness on certain skills, stress will impair performance considerably less. A third approach is crew resource management in which participants are taught effective strategic and interactional skills for dealing with potentially stressful situations. All three techniques can give military personnel a greater sense of control over themselves and threatening situations--a critical factor in maintaining performance under stress.
Although the studies of training effectiveness we reviewed used affective or physiological indicators of stress reduction rather than task performance (CRM training being the exception), we have projected for which types of tasks each approach would be most suitable. Feasibility in administering the various types of training may become the deciding issue in the military. Stress-reduction techniques take time and effort and the military is always seeking ways to reduce training time and costs. Team training based on CRM courses has many advantages, in that technical training can be embedded in team training, offering a double benefit. Stress-reduction techniques, like SIT, are probably the most cumbersome to administer, but may be most beneficial for certain combat situations. The challenge to the military will be to determine how to use technology itself, like simulators of varying degrees of fidelity, or virtual reality techniques, to simulate high stress combat scenarios for training purposes. Stress is not going to go away and may be exacerbated by the high-tech battlefield of the future. Military effectiveness may depend on how well the services prepare their personnel to perform under the stressful conditions that they are certain to face.
The authors wish to thank the U.S. Army Research Institute (ARI) for its support of the literature review that served as the foundation for this chapter. The opinions expressed in this chapter are the authors' and do not reflect official policy or the opinion of any government agency.
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