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As U.S. service members deploy for extended periods on a repeated basis, their ability to cope with the stress of deployment may be challenged. A growing number of programs and strategies provided by the military and civilian sectors are available to encourage and support psychological resilience to stress for service members and families. Though previous research from the field of psychology delineating the factors that foster psychological resilience is available, there has been no assessment of whether and how well the current military resilience programs are addressing these factors in their activities. Further, little is known about the effectiveness of these programs on developing resilience. To assist the Department of Defense in understanding methodologies that could be useful in promoting resilience among service members and their families, the authors conducted a focused literature review to identify evidence-informed factors for promoting psychological resilience. The study also reviewed a subset of military resilience programs to determine the extent to which they included those evidence-informed factors. This report describes the context, approach, and findings from these research activities.

The research reported here was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted jointly by the Center for Military Health Policy Research, a RAND Health program, and the Forces and Resources Policy Center, a RAND National Defense Research Institute (NDRI) program. NDRI is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community under Contract.

This report is part of the RAND monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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