Assessment Report: Stress and Resilience Issues Affecting USAID Personnel in High Operational Stress Environments

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Lee R. Briggs, Dr. Siddharth Ashvin Shah, Mary-Katherine Howell, Deepak Shenoy, Marci Moberg and Kate Burke.

Briggs, L.R., Shah, S.A., et al. (2015). Stress and resilience issues affecting USAID personnel in high operational stress environments.


This report was commissioned by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in line with a heightened recognition that employers working in the humanitarian space need to fortify how they seek to prevent, and intentionally respond to, the psychosocial difficulties many staff are facing. USAID faces challenges that are not unique; increasing workplace stress is part of a larger trend affecting many international humanitarian actors, as well as other high operational stress industries such as hospitals, law enforcement, and even the corporate sector.

The assessment report details the manifold causes and consequences of stress within institutions operating in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous), as well as a range of best practices that could mitigate stress throughout the enterprise. It collates substantial research on occupational stress and best practices in stress responsiveness; includes new research conducted via focus groups, in-person interviews, and an online survey; and concludes with insights and detailed recommendations.


Download the Report and Executive Summary here: Download PDF File

Download the Survey Annex here: Download PDF File

Download the Resource Annex here: Download PDF File