Category: Military and Veterans Psychology
Over 2.1 million United States military service members have deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Nearly 40% of OEF/OIF service members meet criteria for an alcohol use disorder upon return from deployment, with higher rates found among those exposed to combat and/or screening positive for PTSD. Unfortunately, minimal research has focused on the effects of deployment on alcohol misuse among military healthcare providers. This study is designed to address this lack of research using data from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), a prospective, longitudinal cohort study exploring health consequences of military service. Three hypotheses follow: (a) among military personnel who deployed in support of OIF/OEF and experienced combat, healthcare providers will have an increased likelihood of alcohol misuse (i.e., heavy drinking, heavy episodic drinking) compared to service members in other occupations; (b) healthcare providers who screen positive for PTSD following a combat deployment will be more likely to screen positive for alcohol misuse outcomes when compared with non-healthcare providers who screen positive for PTSD; and (c) enlisted healthcare providers will be more likely to screen positive for alcohol misuse outcomes compared to enlisted personnel without healthcare occupations and enlisted personnel with healthcare occupations who do not provide direct clinical care. Participants will include military personnel from the MCS’s first and second recruitment phases who have completed surveys at baseline and at least one of three follow-up assessments. Univariate analyses will identify associations between alcohol use outcomes, occupational status, and demographic characteristics. Logistic regression models will be used to examine the effects of the dichotomous variables of occupation as a healthcare provider on alcohol misuse as well as for the interaction between healthcare provider occupation and PTSD status on risk for alcohol misuse. Multinomial logit models will be used to examine the effects of enlisted occupation (i.e., clinical healthcare provider, non-clinical healthcare provider, other occupation) on risk for alcohol misuse. Magnitude estimates will be reported in the relative risk metric. The models will also be used to identify any moderating effects of covariates (e.g., combat exposure, demographics, military data) on alcohol use outcomes as it is expected that the effects of being a healthcare provider will be unique, over and above the effect of covariates. The results of this study will allow for a better understanding of the relationship between deployed military healthcare providers and alcohol misuse. The results will be used to develop and implement better prevention and screening programs.
Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, Florida