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Thursday March 21, 2013

What is it?

The Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS) is the largest study of mental health risk and resilience ever conducted among military personnel. Army STARRS investigators are using five separate study components “the Historical Data Study, New Soldier Study, All Army Study, Soldier Health Outcomes Study, and the Pre/Post Deployment Study,” to identify factors that help protect a Soldier’s mental health and factors that put a Soldier’s mental health at risk.

The five-year study will generate a vast amount of information and will allow investigators to focus on periods in a Soldier’s career that are known to be high risk for psychological issues. The information gathered from volunteer participants throughout the study will help researchers identify not only potentially relevant risk factors, but potential “protective” factors as well. Because promoting mental health and reducing suicide risk are important for all Americans, the findings from Army STARRS will benefit not only servicemembers but also the nation as a whole.

What has the Army done?

Since January 2011, Army Installations have welcomed and hosted the Army STARRS research team as it gathered information from active-duty Soldiers (including active-duty Army Reserve and Army National Guard). As of February 2013, more than 110,000 Soldiers have voluntarily participated in Army STARRS at a total of 75 CONUS and OCONUS locations. Two of the five Army STARRS components (New Soldier Study and All Army Study) have finished, or are about to finish, data collection. Others, such as the Pre/Post Deployment Study continue working with Soldier volunteers.

Along with assisting data collection efforts, the Army has provided historical data on more than 1.6 million Soldiers. These data, totaling more than 1.1 billion data records, had all personally identifying information removed before they were sent to the Army STARRS data warehouse at the University of Michigan.

Why is this important to the Army?

Army STARRS is a direct response to the Army’s request that the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) enlist the most promising scientific approaches to better understand psychological resilience, mental health, and risk for self-harm among Soldiers. Army STARRS will continue through June 2014.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

Army senior leadership receives quarterly Army STARRS updates. Findings are reported as they become available so that the Army may apply them to its ongoing health promotion, risk reduction, and suicide prevention efforts.


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