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The influence of military service experiences on current and daily drinking

APA Citation:

London, A. S., Wilmoth, J. M., Oliver, W. J., & Hausauer, J. A. (2020). The influence of military service experiences on current and daily drinking. Substance Use & Misuse, 55(8), 1288-1299. https://doi.org/10.1080/10826084.2020.1735438

Abstract Created by REACH:

This study assesses whether current (i.e., drinking alcohol at least once in the past 30 days) and daily (i.e., drinking alcohol each of the 30 previous days) drinking habits are related to Veterans’ military experiences (i.e., combat exposure, having a psychiatric disorder [PD], or traumatic brain injury [TBI]) and demographics (e.g., age, education). Using secondary data from 21,947 men (n = 11,491 who reported current drinking), this study explored how military experiences and demographics influenced the odds of current and daily drinking among four groups of men: (a) non-Veterans, (b) non-combat Veterans without a PD or TBI, (c) combat Veterans without a PD or TBI, and (d) Veterans with a PD and/or TBI. The results demonstrate that military experiences that result in psychological or physical harm (i.e., PD and/or TBI) may contribute to Veterans’ current and daily habits of alcohol consumption.

Focus:

Substance use
Veterans

Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty
Veteran

Subject Affiliation:

Active duty service member
Veteran

Population:

Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)
Aged (65 yrs & older)

Methodology:

Cross-Sectional Study
Quantitative Study
Secondary Analysis

Authors:

London, Andrew S., Wilmoth, Janet M., Oliver, William J., Hausauer, Jessica A.

Abstract:

Background: An extensive public health literature associates military service with increased alcohol consumption and problematic drinking. However, few well-controlled population-based studies compare alcohol use among nonveterans and veterans with diverse military service experiences, and no such study examines everyday drinking. Methods: We use population-representative data from the 2010 and 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and distinguish four groups of men: nonveterans; non-combat veterans without a psychiatric disorder (PD) or traumatic brain injury (TBI); combat veterans without a PD or TBI; and veterans (non-combat and combat combined) with a PD and/or TBI. We estimate hierarchical multivariate logistic regression models of current drinking (N = 21,947) and daily drinking (among current drinkers; N = 11,491). Results from supplemental analyses are discussed. Results: Relative to nonveterans, non-combat veterans with no PD or TBI and veterans with a PD and/or TBI, respectively, but not combat veterans with no PD or TBI, are more likely to be current drinkers. Among current drinkers, non-combat and combat veterans with no PD or TBI, respectively, are less likely than nonveterans to be daily drinkers. Conversely, among current drinkers, veterans with a PD and/or TBI are more likely to be daily drinkers than nonveterans, non-combat veterans with no PD or TBI, and combat veterans with no PD or TBI. Conclusion: We document heterogeneous and countervailing influences of military service experiences on current and daily drinking. Results indicate that harmful military service experience may be associated with an increased risk of current, moderate daily drinking, which may represent a form of self-medication.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Taylor & Francis

Publication Type:

Article
REACH Publication
Featured Research

Author Affiliation:

Aging Studies Institute, Syracuse University, ASL
Aging Studies Institute, Syracuse University, JMW
Department of Sociology, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, WJO
Department of Sociology, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, JAH

Keywords:

alcohol, mental health, military, self-medication, traumatic brain injury, veteran

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

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