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A person-centered approach to identifying at-risk U.S. Army soldiers-in-training based on adverse childhood experiences

APA Citation:

Reed-Fitzke, K., Duncan, J. M., Wojciak, A. S., Ferraro, A J., Sánchez, J., & Smith, K. M. (2022). A person-centered approach to identifying at-risk U.S. Army soldiers-in-training based on adverse childhood experiences. Traumatology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/trm0000395

Abstract Created by REACH:

This study identified groups of Soldiers based on their adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), then examined whether groups differed based on reports of anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and a resilient mindset. 30,836 Soldiers-in-training provided data during their basic combat training. 5 groups were identified. Two groups, characterized by high rates of overall and emotional adversity, reported more symptomatology; yet only the group with elevated emotional adversity reported a less resilient mindset.

Focus:

Child maltreatment
Mental health
Trauma

Branch of Service:

Army

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Active duty service member
Guard/Reserve member

Population:

Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)

Methodology:

Cross-Sectional Study
Quantitative Study
Secondary Analysis

Authors:

Reed-Fitzke, Kayla, Duncan, James M., Wojciak, Armeda S., Ferraro, Anthony J., Sánchez, Jennifer, Smith, Kevin M.

Abstract:

Military service members are confronted with numerous stressors as they progress through their career. Given the military’s desire to maintain mission readiness, it is imperative to identify areas of early intervention to promote optimal functioning and health. This study used the stress process framework and a person-centered approach to identify subgroups of soldiers-in-training based on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Specifically, two questions were addressed: (a) Are there distinct profiles of ACEs among soldiers-in-training, and (b) who are the most at-risk soldiers-in-training? The sample consisted of 30,836 soldiers-in-training from the Army study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers. Five subgroups were identified using latent profile analysis: low adversity, moderate emotional adversity, elevated emotional adversity, moderate structural adversity, and high cumulative adversity. Results from a multivariate and univariate analyses of variance indicated significant small main effects of profile membership in anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and resilient mindset. Those with high cumulative adversity and elevated emotional adversity appeared to be the most at-risk regarding mental health, yet those with high cumulative adversity had similar levels of resilient mindset as the lower adversity groups. Those with elevated emotional adversity had the lowest levels of resilient mindset. Findings provide a more holistic understanding of unique combinations of ACEs among individuals’ as they enter military service. ACEs profiles may help providers identify those who may benefit from targeted supports (e.g., trauma-informed mental health providers) prior to or during service for those who may be most vulnerable to poor outcomes.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

American Psychological Association

Publication Type:

Article
REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations, The University of Iowa, KRF
Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations, The University of Iowa, ASW
Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations, The University of Iowa, KMS
School of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Arkansas, JMD
Department of Applied Human Sciences, Kansas State University, AJF
Department of Rehabilitation and Counselor Education, The University of Iowa, JS

Keywords:

mission readiness, early intervention, adverse childhood experiences

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  August 2022

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