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Prevention of Traumatic Stress Disorders in High-Risk Occupations: Current Knowledge and Research Opportunities

Meeting Summary
Bethesda, Maryland

The NIMH Office of Prevention and the Division of Adult Translational Research and Treatment Development, Traumatic Stress Disorders Research Program, held a meeting involving trauma researchers, prevention scientists, and subject-matter experts responsible for preparing civilian and military personnel for disaster response, mass casualty events, and combat. The goals of the meeting included determining whether current knowledge of the stress-response process (such as risk and protective factors, presumed mechanisms of impairment, and longitudinal course) supports the notion of preventive intervention and aids in the identification of potential strategies for preventing a broad range of short-term, intermediate, and long-term adjustment difficulties following trauma exposure. Discussions centered on pretrauma characteristics that may buffer against acute and long-term stress reactions; how knowledge of risk and protective factors might translate into selective prevention strategies; and optimal methods for evaluating and implementing potential interventions. For more information, please contact Dr. Robert Heinssen or Dr. Farris Tuma. A detailed meeting report is forthcoming.