OBJECTIVE: The mental health issues of personnel dealing with the deceased at times of disasters is a problem and techniques are needed that allow for real-time, easy-to-use stress checks. We have studied techniques for measuring mental state using voice analysis which has the benefit of being non-invasive, easy-to-use, and can be performed in real-time. For this study, we used voice measurement to determine the stress experienced during body identification training workshops for dentists. We studied whether or not stress levels were affected by having previous experience with body identification either in actual disaster settings or during training. DESIGN: Since participants training using actual dead bodies in particular are expected to suffer higher stress exposure, we also assessed their mental state pre- and post-training using actual dead bodies. RESULTS: The results confirmed marked differences in the mental state between before and after training in participants without any actual experience, between participants who engaged in training using manikins before actual dead bodies and participants who did not. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that, in body identification training, the level of stress when coming into contact with dead bodies varies depending on participants' experience and the training sequence. Moreover, it is believed that voice-based stress assessment can be conducted in the limited time during training sessions and that it can be usefully implemented in actual disaster response settings.
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