Using Biofeedback while Immersed in a Stressful Videogame Increases the Effectiveness of Stress Management Skills in Soldiers
by Stéphane Bouchard, François Bernier, Éric Boivin, Brian Morin, Geneviève Robillard
This study assessed the efficacy of using visual and auditory biofeedback while immersed in a tridimensional videogame to practice a stress management skill (tactical breathing). All 41 participants were soldiers who had previously received basic stress management training and first aid training in combat. On the first day, they received a 15-minute refresher briefing and were randomly assigned to either: (a) no additional stress management training (SMT) for three days, or (b) 30-minute sessions (one per day for three days) of biofeedback-assisted SMT while immersed in a horror/first-person shooter game. The training was performed in a dark and enclosed environment using a 50-inch television with active stereoscopic display and loudspeakers. On the last day, all participants underwent a live simulated ambush with an improvised explosive device, where they had to provide first aid to a wounded soldier. Stress levels were measured with salivary cortisol collected when waking-up, before and after the live simulation. Stress was also measured with heart rate at baseline, during an apprehension phase, and during the live simulation. Repeated-measure ANOVAs and ANCOVAs confirmed that practicing SMT was effective in reducing stress. Results are discussed in terms of the advantages of the proposed program for military personnel and the need to practice SMT.
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Syndicated from:PLoS ONE
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