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Study Background, Purpose, and Approach

The long and frequent deployments of U.S. armed forces associated with Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), combined with the other consequences of combat, such as exposure to trauma, have tested the resilience and coping skills of U.S. military service members and their families. While most military personnel and families are resilient under these difficult circumstances, many also experience difficulties handling stress at some point.

Psychological resilience refers to the process of coping with or overcoming expo- sure to adversity or stress. With regard to mental health interventions, psychological resilience is more than an individual personality trait—it is a process involving interac- tion among an individual, that individual’s life experiences, and current life context. For example, resilience can apply to contexts relevant either to prevention (before expo- sure to stress) or to treatment (when recovering from the harmful effects of such stress).

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