Prospective Evaluation of Mental Health and Deployment Experience Among Women in the US Military
NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER SAN DIEGO CA
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Previous research has shown that women often experience different types and severity of health outcomes following deployment compared with men. This longitudinal study examines the effects of deployment on the self-reported mental health of women in the Millennium Cohort from 2001-2008. Women who deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and reported combat-related exposures had significantly higher odds odds ratio 1.88, 95 confidence interval 1.62, 2.18 of reporting mental health symptoms than nondeployed women, after adjusting for demographic, military, and behavioral covariates. Also, reporting less than 7 hours of sleep or more than 8 hours in an average 24-hour period, higher stress, problem drinking, and the presence of mental health conditions prior to the baseline assessment were significantly associated with an increased risk for later mental health conditions. In contrast, women with higher education levels and those in the ReservesNational Guard were at decreased risk for mental health conditions all P values less than 0.01. As the roles and responsibilities of women in the military expand and deployments become more common among female service members, designing better prevention strategies to address any health outcomes unique to this population are critical for overall force health protection and readiness.
- Medicine and Medical Research
- Stress Physiology
- Military Forces and Organizations