Psychological flexibility training to enhance resilience in military personnel

Evans, W. R., Meyer, E. C., Moore, B. A., & Peterson, A. L.
Aug 11, 2023

Military Behavioral Health. Advance online publication.

The U.S. Department of Defense continues to have a significant interest in the development and evaluation of evidence-based programs for enhancing resilience in military personnel. However, few studies have documented evidence-based interventions to maintain or boost performance and enhance resilience among service members. A robust body of literature describes the positive association between psychological flexibility and resilience as well as outcomes including performance, mental health, and social functioning in both healthy and clinical populations. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an evidence-based intervention that directly targets the enhancement of psychological flexibility. In the current paper, we first describe the association between psychological flexibility and resilience. Then we briefly note the limitations of existing military resilience training programs and outline the relevant evidence in support of an ACT-based resilience training program. Finally, we describe the six psychological flexibility processes that comprise ACT interventions along with the relevance of each process for resilience enhancement in military personnel. We conclude with information about an in-progress study of a novel ACT-based training program targeting resilience enhancement and readiness optimization in active duty service members.