A large number of active duty military personnel spend every day stressed over deployment, war experiences, or anticipation of conflict.Such stress can lead to medical and mental health problems. Providing all of these service members with therapy would be too costly and difficult to arrange due to soldiers’ schedules and the distances they travel.A potential solution, the “Stress Gym,” is currently being developed and studied. The Stress Gym is an online program designed to provide people with CBT interventions.The program is tailored to the individual; it can be used by a large number of people; it is flexible to their schedules; and it is relatively low cost.
The present study looks at the feasibility of using the Stress Gym in military settings and how well the program is received by military personnel.Researchers invited all active duty members of the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, to participate in the study using the Stress Gym.142 individuals joined the study and fully completed it.An initial screen suggested which of the nine stress modules were most relevant to them.In the end, participants were asked to complete a feasibility questionnaire and an open-ended qualitative evaluation.In addition, the participants filled out a Numeric Rating Scale of Stress (NRS) before and after the stress gym, giving researchers an idea of the participants’ perceived stress levels.
Results showed a generally positive reception of the Stress Gym among personnel.There was a significant decline in stress after use of the program and the more modules that were completed, the greater the decrease in stress scores.The results also showed that the effects were the same regardless of rank, gender, or status of deployment.The study suggests that the use of the Stress Gym can be highly beneficial in military settings at reducing stress and the risk of depression, and improving coping strategies in active personnel.
William, R. A., Hagerty, B. M., Brasington, S. J., Clem, J. B., & Williams, D. A. (2010).Stress gym: Feasibility of deploying a web-enhanced behavioral self-management program for stress in a military setting.Military Medicine, 175(7), 487-493.