Date of this Version
This technical report is the third in a series of reports evaluating the impact of the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) Program. This report focused on determining the efficacy of the train-the-trainer component of CSF – Master Resilience Trainer (MRT) – in influencing Soldier resilience and psychological health (R/PH) across time. Four Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) received MRT skills training (Treatment condition), while four additional BCTs did not (Control condition). Measures of R/PH were taken three times across approximately 15 months (baseline, T1, T2), and demographics, quality of unit leadership, and quality of unit cohesion were accounted for. Analyses show that Soldiers in the Treatment condition exhibited significantly higher R/PH scores at T2 than did Soldiers in the Control condition. Also, MRT skills training appears to be significantly more effective for Soldiers 18-24 years old than older Soldiers. Additional contextual analyses are provided.
There is now sound scientific evidence that Comprehensive Soldier Fitness improves the resilience and psychological health of Soldiers.
Background: The purpose of this report is to present empirical evidence of the effectiveness of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) at improving Soldier-reported resilience and psychological health (R/ PH). More specifically, this report focuses on the effectiveness of the train-the-trainer component of CSF, known as Master Resilience Trainer (MRT). Though program evaluation of CSF will continue into the future, this report represents a significant milestone in a longitudinal analysis effort involving more than 22,000 Soldiers across eight Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs).
Methodology: Eight BCTs were randomly selected for participation in this program evaluation (see Figure 1, p. 12). A total of 96 Master Resilience Trainers completed the 10-day MRT course at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and each returned to one of four BCTs; these four BCTs comprised the Treatment condition. Due to training throughput constraints at the MRT course, four additional BCTs did not receive MRTs over the life of this program evaluation initiative; these four BCTs comprised the Control condition. Measures of R/ PH––using the Global Assessment Tool (GAT)––were taken three times over approximately 15 months. A baseline measure was taken in early 2010. Another measure of R/ PH was taken again in the latter part of 2010 (Time 1), and this measure coincided with CSF publishing its training guidance to be implemented by all MRTs across the Army. A final measure of R/ PH was taken again approximately six months later in 2011 (Time 2). Demographics (i.e., age, gender) and organizational factors (i.e., quality of unit leadership, unit cohesion) were also assessed in our analyses given that these two variables could moderate the relationship between MRT training and R/ PH.
• The Treatment condition (units with MRTs) exhibited significantly higher R/ PH scores at Time 2 than did the Control condition (units without MRTs) (see Table 4, p. 15). Quality of unit leadership and unit cohesion did not significantly impact the effect of MRT training on R/ PH at Time 2.
• In some areas of R/ PH, the Treatment condition had a higher rate of growth than the Control condition (see Figure 2, p. 16).
• MRT training appears to be significantly more effective for 18-24 year olds than for older Soldiers (see Figure 4, p. 19).
• Training provided by MRTs is most effective when the training is conducted in formal settings (e.g., scheduled classes), when Commands select confident leaders to serve as MRTs, and when Commands properly support their MRTs.
• There is no evidence that Soldier R/ PH scores decrease or that Soldiers “get worse” due to training provided by MRTs.
• The effect sizes reported here are consistent with or better than many other population-wide developmental interventions and public health initiatives.