Substance Use and Mental Health Trends among U.S. Military Active Duty Personnel: Key Findings from the 2008 DoD Health Behavior Survey
RESEARCH TRIANGLE INST (RTI) RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK NC
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This study examines substance use and mental health issues among U.S. military personnel. Data were from the 2008 and before population-based Department of Defense Health Related Behavior Surveys HRBS. The sample size for the 2008 survey was 28,546 70.6 response rate. The study examined military members substance use, stress, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD, suicidal ideation and attempts, deployment, and job satisfaction. Trends show reductions in tobacco use and illicit drug use. but increases in prescription drug misuse, heavy alcohol use, stress, PTSD, and suicidal attempts. Deployment exacerbated some of these behavior changes. Despite the demanding lifestyle, job satisfaction was high. The authors conclude that the military has shown progress in decreasing cigarette smoking and illicit drug use. Additional emphasis should be placed on understanding increases in prescription drug misuse, heavy alcohol use, PTSD, and suicide attempts, and on planning additional effective interventions and prevention programs. Challenges remain in understanding and addressing military mental health needs.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics