Poll Shows Sailors Learning Positive Stress Coping Behaviors

Story Number: NNS101122-05Release Date: 11/22/2010 12:46:00 PM
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From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy's 2010 Behavioral Health Quick Poll (BHQP) results indicate an increased awareness of the Stress Continuum and positive coping behaviors; however, results also indicate an increase in perceived operational stress among Sailors.

The June 2010 poll was sponsored by the Navy's Operational Stress Control (OSC) program and conducted by the Millington, Tenn., based Navy Personnel Research, Studies, & Technology (NPRST). Aimed with the goal to assess fleet perceptions of stress and gauge effectiveness of programs designed to help Sailors identify and cope, the poll reached more than 2,800 randomly selected officers and enlisted Sailors online.

Capt. Lori Laraway, OSC program coordinator, said the poll gives leaders important information about Sailors' attitudes not available otherwise.

Similar in scope to the 2009 Behavioral Health Quick Poll, the main areas of focus were to determine the levels and types of stress, coping methods for dealing with stress, impacts of stress on job performance and awareness of suicide prevention mechanisms throughout the fleet.

New in 2010 were questions meant to determine Sailors' understanding of the positive impacts of stress and awareness of the available support resources.

Encouraging results of the poll as compared to last year include:

*Awareness of the Stress Continuum, an important tool for determining the many different types of stress, raised from 61 percent to 68 percent for enlisted and from 55 percent to 66 percent for officers.

*Most Sailors continue to report using positive methods to cope with stress, including "thinking of a plan to solve problems," "talking to a friend/family member," and "exercising or playing sports."

The pattern of results is similar to that found in 2009, while a larger, overall percentage reported using positive coping methods.

While awareness of stress and ways to navigate its negative impact have improved, Navy leaders are concerned with the reported increase in overall operational stress.

Eight of every ten enlisted members and officers indicated "some" or "a lot" of work stress in 2010, an increase of 8 percent and 10 percent respectively, from the 2009 results.

These increases are similar to findings in Department of Defense surveys and again point to the "lack of personnel in work groups to get the job done" as the number one stressor for both groups.

Family members, peers, and friends are the preferred resources for reduction of stress, and use of these and all other available resources increased across all respondents. These results emphasize the importance of delivering targeted training and the relationship of social support and reported stress levels.

According to Carol Newell, who led the poll for NPRST, "Sailors with higher levels of reported stress also report fewer people in their social support network."

New for the 2010 poll were questions about perceived impacts of stress.

"Although more than one third had some negative outcomes of stress, nearly three quarters of officers and enlisted reported 'feeling pride from my accomplishments,' 'more confident about dealing with future stress,' and that they 'made a valuable contribution,'" said Newell.

These positive impacts of stress can be viewed as resilience building indicators.

NPRST researchers work closely with the Navy's Operational Stress Control and Behavioral Health programs to measure program effectiveness and awareness. Results of polls, training assessments, and focus groups - especially over time - continually inform the design of training and communication efforts.

For more information about the 2010 BHQP survey administration procedures, response rates, and detailed responses, visit the Navy Quick Poll results site through a Common Access Card enabled computer at https://quickpolling.nprst.navy.mil.

For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnp/.

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Justin Pearce speaks to a group of Sailors about stress, hydration, and overall health during a mind, body and spirit campaign aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75)
100625-N-3705H-029 U.S. 5th FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY (June 25, 2010) Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Justin Pearce speaks to a group of Sailors about stress, hydration, and overall health during a mind, body and spirit campaign aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). The campaign is designed to educate and motivate Sailors to focus on improving their mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Harry S. Truman is deployed as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nina Hughes/Released)
June 28, 2010
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