Do Insomnia Symptoms Predict Increased Alcohol Use Disorder Symptoms among Military Service Members and Veterans?

Research Paper Title

Prospective associations between insomnia symptoms and alcohol use problems among former and current military service personnel.

Background

Despite evidence that insomnia symptoms exacerbate alcohol use disorder symptoms, there is a dearth of prospective research testing bidirectional associations between these variables. Furthermore, no studies have prospectively examined these associations among military personnel, a vulnerable population for sleep- and alcohol-related problems. Thus, the current study examined whether insomnia symptoms prospectively predicted increased alcohol use disorder symptoms among a sample of military service members and veterans over a 6-month follow-up period, as well as whether alcohol use disorder symptoms led to increases in insomnia.

Methods

Hypotheses were tested among a sample of 274 current and past military service members who participated in a baseline and 6-month assessment using self-report measures.

Results

Path analyses revealed that insomnia symptoms significantly prospectively predicted increased month-6 heavy drinking and alcohol-related problems, but not days drinking or being bothered by drinking. None of the alcohol variables significantly predicted insomnia.

Conclusions

Results support a model in which insomnia symptoms exacerbate alcohol use disorder symptoms, specifically heavy drinking and alcohol-related problems. Future research should seek to examine these findings in diverse populations and test potential mechanisms and clinical implications of these results.

Reference

Short, N.A., Allan, N.P., Oglesby, M.E., Moradi, S., Schmidt, N.B. & Stecker, T. (2019) Prospective associations between insomnia symptoms and alcohol use problems among former and current military service personnel. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 199, pp.35-41. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.02.018. Epub 2019 Apr 6.

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