PTSD & Other Mental Health Conditions Among US Soldiers & Marines, 2001-2011

Research Paper Title

Predictors of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Depressive Disorders, and Any Mental Health Condition Among U.S. Soldiers and Marines, 2001-2011.

Background

Understanding mental health disorder diagnosis and treatment seeking among active-duty military personnel is a topic with both clinical and policy implications. It has been well documented in military populations that individual-level military experience, including deployment history and combat exposure, influences mental health outcomes, but the impact of unit-level factors is less well understood.

Methods

In the current study, the researchers used administrative longitudinal data to examine a comprehensive set of unit- and individual-level predictors of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), non-PTSD anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, and overall mental health diagnoses among Army and Marines Corps personnel.

Using Cox survival models for time-dependent variables, the researchers analysed time from military accession (between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2011) until first mental health diagnosis for 773,359 soldiers and 332,093 Marines.

Results

Prior diagnosis of a substance abuse disorder during one’s military career, hazard ratios (HRs) = 1.68-3.10, and cumulative time spent deployed, HRs = 1.11-2.04, were the most predictive risk factors for all outcomes. Male sex, HRs = 0.35-0.57, and officer rank, HRs = 0.13-0.23, were the most protective factors. Unit-level rate of high deployment stress was a small but significant predictor of all outcomes after controlling for individual-level deployment history and other predictors, HRs = 1.01-1.05.

Conclusions

Findings suggest both unit- and individual-level risk and protective factors of mental health diagnoses associated with treatment seeking. Clinical, including mental health assessment and management, and policy implications related to the military environment and the individual as it relates to mental health disorders are discussed.

Reference

Levin-Rector, A., Hourani, L.L., Van Dorn, R.A., Bray, R.M., Stander, V.A., Cartwright, J.K., Morgan, J.K., Trudeau, J. & Lattimore, P.K. (2018) Predictors of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Depressive Disorders, and Any Mental Health Condition Among U.S. Soldiers and Marines, 2001-2011. Journal of Traumatic Stress. 31(4), pp.568-578. doi: 10.1002/jts.22316. Epub 2018 Jul 19.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.