Rapid Response to Acute Stress Reaction: Pilot Test of iCOVER Training for Military Units

Amy B. Adler, Amanda R. Start, Laura Milham, Yvonne S. Allard, Dawn Riddle, Lisa Townsend, Vlad Svetlitzky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study was to pilot the iCOVER curriculum-a training product designed to teach service members how to recognize and respond to acute stress reactions (ASRs) using a simple, 6-step procedure, iCOVER. Three goals guided the pilot: (a) assess training acceptability, (b) assess impact of training on knowledge and performance of the iCOVER procedure, and (c) explore the effects of in-person and computer-simulated practical exercises. Method: Six military squads (N = 66) were randomly assigned to 3 conditions: iCOVER Standard (iCOVER instruction with an in-person practical exercise), iCOVER Tech (iCOVER instruction with a computer-simulated practical exercise), or Control (no iCOVER instruction). Squads in the iCOVER conditions received iCOVER instruction, completed a knowledge test and practical exercise to which they were assigned (i.e., Standard or Tech), demonstrated their iCOVER skills in live-action scenarios, and reported their perceptions of the training. Results: iCOVER training was acceptable to most participants and associated with improved knowledge about iCOVER (Mpre = 3.33 vs. Mpost = 5.15; t[42] = -7.61, p < .001, d = 1.41); iCOVER Standard resulted in more iCOVER behaviors during a live-action scenario compared with the other conditions, F(2, 35) = 13.36, p < .001, η2 = 0.43. Compared with iCOVER Tech, iCOVER Standard had greater acceptability and resulted in better performance of iCOVER. Conclusions: This is the first U.S. demonstration of a training program designed to address ASRs during high-risk operations and offers a potential way ahead for preparing military teams to manage ASRs.

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association.

Keywords

  • Acute stress reaction
  • Intervention
  • Military
  • Rapid
  • Resilience training

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