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Associations between Augmentee Status, Deployment Stress Preparedness and Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Binge Drinking in U.S. Servicewomen

  • Michael A. Cucciare
    Correspondence
    Correspondence to: Michael A. Cucciare, PhD, Division of Health Services Research, Department of Psychiatry/Psychiatric Research Institute, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205. Phone: (501) 526-8179; fax: (501) 526-8199.
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas

    VA South Central Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, North Little Rock, Arkansas

    Center for Mental Healthcare and Outcomes Research, Central Arkansas Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, North Little Rock, Arkansas
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  • Michelle A. Mengeling
    Affiliations
    Center for Access and Delivery Research and Evaluation, Iowa City VA Health Care System, Iowa City, Iowa

    VA Office of Rural Health, Veterans Rural Health Resource Center-Iowa City, Iowa City VA Health Care System, Iowa City, Iowa

    Department of Internal Medicine, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
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  • Xiaotong Han
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas

    VA South Central Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, North Little Rock, Arkansas

    Center for Mental Healthcare and Outcomes Research, Central Arkansas Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, North Little Rock, Arkansas
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  • James Torner
    Affiliations
    Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
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  • Anne G. Sadler
    Affiliations
    Center for Access and Delivery Research and Evaluation, Iowa City VA Health Care System, Iowa City, Iowa

    Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa
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Published:February 18, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.whi.2020.01.002

      Abstract

      Background

      Being deployed without one's home unit (individual-augmentee) and low perceived deployment preparedness are risk factors for mental health symptoms and substance use in male service members. However, these relationships have not been examined specifically in U.S. servicewomen. This study sought to fill this gap by examining associations between augmentee status and deployment stress preparedness (independent variables) and depression, probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and binge drinking (dependent variables) in a sample of U.S. servicewomen.

      Methods

      A community sample of service women from the Midwest, including both veterans and those serving at the time of data collection (N = 991), completed structured telephone interviews. Logistic regression was used to examine associations between augmentee status, deployment stress preparedness, and the likelihood of reporting depression, probable PTSD, and binge drinking after controlling for covariates.

      Results

      Findings showed that U.S. servicewomen in the Reserve/Guard who deployed as individual-augmentees were more likely to screen positive for depression, report probable PTSD, and disclose recent binge drinking than servicewomen in the Reserve/Guard deployed with their home unit. Also, among servicewomen deployed as individual-augmentees, those in the Reserve/Guard were more likely to report binge drinking than servicewomen in the active component. No statistically significant associations between deployment stress preparedness and mental health symptoms or binge drinking were observed.

      Conclusions

      Servicewomen in the Reserve/Guard who deployed as individual-augmentees may be at increased risk for depression, probable PTSD, and hazardous drinking when compared with their active component and Reserve/Guard peers deployed with their home units.
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      Biography

      Michael A. Cucciare, PhD, is Associate Professor, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Associate Director for Research Training at the VA SC MIRECC. His research interests are addiction health services research and improving access to care for underserved populations.

      Biography

      Michelle A. Mengeling, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and Core Investigator, CADRE, Iowa City VA. Her interests are women's health, rural health, and access to care.

      Biography

      Xiaotong Han, MS, is senior biostatistician at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and at the SC MIRECC. Her expertise is in statistical analyses, particularly in longitudinal data analysis using generalized estimating equations and generalized linear mixed models.

      Biography

      James Torner, PhD, is Professor, Department of Epidemiology at the University of Iowa. His research interests are stroke and cerebrovascular disorders, traumatic brain injury, and clinical trials design and methods.

      Biography

      Anne G. Sadler, PhD, RN, is Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and Core Investigator, CADRE, Iowa City VA. Her interests include sexual violence in the military, and interventions engaging war veterans in mental health care.