Strengthening Health and Improving Emotional Defenses (SHIELD)

Elkin-Frankston, S., Wollocko, A., and Niehaus, J.

In: Schmorrow D., Fidopiastis C. (eds) Augmented Cognition: Users and Contexts. AC 2018. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10916. Springer, Cham (03 June 2018)

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, and meditation can be used to gain more control of how individuals respond to stressful situations. While these techniques are becoming increasingly mainstream, there is still a stigma that can deter some users. Unfortunately, these populations stand to gain the most from developing these psychological tools. We set out to develop a mobile application to make relaxation training more appealing and approachable for the targeted population, which we believe is critical in order to gain wide scale usage. The Department of Defense has devoted substantial resources to developing stress prevention and resilience programs to combat the effects of stress; however, there is limited evidence to justify the cost and scope of current programs. We aimed to develop a low-cost, evidence-based mobile application tailored for the Marine Corps. Our solution, Strengthening Health and Improving Emotional Defenses (SHIELD), is designed to be a comprehensive approach based on the latest evidence-based strategies to train Marines to develop psychological resilience and promote healthy responses to adverse and stressful events. The overall SHIELD program is designed to promote gradual, self-paced practice, allowing Marines to complete training on a schedule that works for them.

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