Post-Deployment & Resiliency Factors

Research Paper Title

Resiliency factors that protect against post-deployment drug use among male US Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers.

Background

Service members who have been deployed are at risk for substance use, especially Reserve/Guard troops. However, it is unclear what modifiable factors protect against substance use in this at-risk population. The objective was to examine the effects of pre-, peri-, and post-deployment resiliency factors on post-deployment drug use.

Methods

Data were drawn from Operation: SAFETY (Soldiers and Families Excelling Through the Years), an ongoing study examining the health of US Army Reserve/National Guard (USAR/NG) soldiers. This sample consisted of male USAR/NG soldiers with at least one combat deployment (N = 228).

At baseline, the researchers assessed the following as potential protective factors: deployment preparation, unit support and support from family/friends during soldiers’ most recent deployment, and marital satisfaction. They examined the relations between each of these resiliency factors with drug use at the first follow-up assessment using the NIDA modified ASSIST 2.0.

Results

Greater unit support (AOR = 0.56, 95% CI: 0.34, 0.92; p <  0.05) and support from family/friends during deployment (AOR = 0.64, 95% CI: 0.43, 0.96; p <  0.05) were associated with lower odds of drug use, controlling for age, rank, years of military service, combat exposure, traumatic brain injury, time since last deployment, and baseline drug use. Deployment preparation and marital satisfaction were not associated with drug use (ps > 0.05).

Conclusions

Social support provided to soldiers during deployment, either by their unit or their family/friends, showed evidence of protection against post-deployment drug use. In addition to existing post-deployment efforts, the researchers recommend interventions that facilitate stronger interpersonal relationships during deployment.

Reference

Hoopsick, R.A., Benson, K.R., Homish, D.L. & Homish, G.G. (2019) Resiliency factors that protect against post-deployment drug use among male US Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 199, pp.42-49. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.02.017. Epub 2019 Apr 6.

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