Individual Difference in HPA and SAM Axis in Students Attending BESS


Name: Dennis Spence

Rank: LCDR

Organization: Rush University

Performance Site: Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory, Groton, CN; Naval Institute of Dental and Biomedical Research, Great Lakes, IL; Basic Enlisted Submarine School, New London, CN; Rush University

Year Published: 2008

Abstract Status: Initial


This study meets the TSNRP funding priority for Military Deployment health by evaluating factors affecting the health care of enlisted submarine candidates. Military Nurses are in an ideal position to identify the individual differences in stress response systems of enlisted submarine candidates because of their holistic approach to nursing, and ability to intervene when needed. However to achieve this goal, additional psychological and biological markers of stress need to be investigated. These additional markers may help to explain individual differences in response to stress, may help explain more of the variance in attrition, and most importantly identify and intervene with those individuals at risk for stress-related disorders.Furthermore, the inclusion of quantitative and qualitative methodology is a novel approach to studying individual differences in stress. This approach will expand our military scientific knowledge by providing meaning to the psychological and biological measures used in this study. This approach to studying this phenomenon, if found feasible, may prove useful in future nursing research studies investigating stress in other military populations.Findings from this study may save the Navy millions of dollars each year by identifying those individuals who are most resilient to the stressors unique to submarine duty, improving operational readiness. Once sailors enter the fleet, these stress biomarkers may help identify those at risk for development of anomalous Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal Axis (HPA) activity and chronic stress-related disease conditions (Osborne, 2006). These biomarkers may prove useful in watch-standing studies, especially once the handheld polarimeter is ready for field studies (Cullum, Duplessis, & Crepeau, 2006). Early analysis during training will provide baseline data for future studies to determine the effect of chronic stress on HPA axis as candidates enter their first tour of duty.