Charles River Analytics Inc. has announced a follow-on contract to build a low-cost, flexible option for training psychological flexibility and enhancing the resilience and performance of the Marine Corps. The two-year contract for Strengthening Health and Improving Emotional Defenses, or SHIELD, awarded by the Office of Naval Research, is valued close to $750,000. Charles River is partnering with Intelligent Automation, Inc. on the effort.
Psychological stress experienced by Marines has a profound impact on health and performance. In addition to affecting Marines, it also impacts job performance and interactions with family and peers. Charles River Analytics is developing SHIELD to train Marines in developing psychological fitness, and prompting healthy responses to adverse and stressful events. SHIELD is a comprehensive and portable psychological resiliency program based on the latest evidence-based strategies from psychological skills training, stress management strategies, and mindfulness-based stress reduction.
A Marine uses a mobile app to engage and interact with the SHIELD program, accessing content, engaging in training exercises, and providing periodic self-assessment reports through an intuitive interface.
"While the benefits of psychological skills training and stress management strategies are clear, one significant challenge is how to deliver these benefits to Marines," said Dr. Seth Elkin-Frankston, Scientist at Charles River. "We are developing a program in SHIELD that will improve Marines' ability to flexibly adapt and cope with stressors and avoid the negative consequences associated with increased adversity. The SHIELD program will be delivered through a mobile application designed to build a composite of individual needs and guide personalized training objectives."
Charles River will build on its expertise in psychological skills training, mobile platform development, data fusion, and biosensor technologies, as well as its familiarity with Marine Corps training, to build the SHIELD program. SHIELD aims to improve Marines' ability to flexibly adapt and cope with stressors and avoid the negative consequences associated with increased adversity.