Objective: A high degree of stress activates the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, causing the adrenal cortex to secrete cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) concurrently, which is associated with a heightened ability to perform well in intense situations like military survival training. Antiglucocorticoid effects from DHEA may counter deleterious effects of cortisol and aid resilience to stress. We explored the connection between length of military deployment or the number of deployments and the ratio of DHEA to cortisol in the context of virtual reality stressful situations. It was hypothesized that a person's deployment history would inoculate them to some degree from the experience of stress and would be positively associated with the ratio of DHEA to cortisol. Method: Twenty-four male members of the Army National Guard Special Forces completed questionnaires regarding their deployment history. Blood DHEA and saliva cortisol were gathered while participants underwent stress-inducing virtual reality scenarios. Results: After controlling...

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