HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Alcohol Use Among Never‐Deployed U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers: The Effects of Nondeployment Emotions and Sex

Article

This article explores military populations at high risk for alcohol misuse, including never-deployed soldiers experiencing negative emotions related to their non-deployment, Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers.

Abstract

Limited research shows that mental health problems are prevalent among never‐deployed soldiers and many experience negative emotions related to their nondeployment. U.S. Army Reserve/National Guard (USAR/NG) soldiers are also at high risk for alcohol misuse. However, it is not known if nondeployment emotions contribute to an increased risk of alcohol misuse among never‐deployed USAR/NG soldiers. Data are from Operation: SAFETY (Soldiers and Families Excelling Through the Years), an ongoing study of USAR/NG soldiers. We used regression models to examine the relations between nondeployment emotions, assessed by the Non‐Deployment Emotions (NDE) Questionnaire, and a range of alcohol use outcomes, assessed by the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test and standard quantity and frequency questions, among a sample of never‐deployed soldiers who were partnered at baseline (N = 174). Final models controlled for years of military service, current number of close military friends in the social network, marital satisfaction, and depression. We also tested for potential differences in these associations by sex. Nondeployment emotions were associated with frequency of getting drunk (adjusted risk ratio [aRR] = 1.02, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.04; p < 0.05) and typical number of drinks consumed during a drinking episode (aRR = 1.03, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.04; p < 0.01). Nondeployment emotions had a trend‐level association with percent of days drinking (adjusted odds ratio = 1.05, 95% CI: 1.00, 1.11; p = 0.055). Nondeployment emotions had a significant interaction with sex (p < 0.05) on the likelihood of alcohol problems, such that only male soldiers experienced a greater likelihood of alcohol problems when they had highly negative nondeployment emotions. There was no relation between nondeployment emotions and alcohol problems among female soldiers. Findings demonstrate that greater nondeployment emotions are associated with increased alcohol use among never‐deployed USAR/NG soldiers. The NDE Questionnaire may assist in identifying those at highest risk for alcohol problems.

Full Reference

Hoopsick, R. A., Homish, D. L., Vest, B. M. and Homish, G. G., 2018. Alcohol Use Among Never‐Deployed U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers: The Effects of Nondeployment Emotions and Sex. Alcoholism Clinical & Experimental Research, 42(12), pp. 2413-2422.