HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Civilian Unemployment and Mental Health: The Moderating Impact of Alcohol Misuse in Returning National Guard

Article

This article explores the relationship between postdeployment employment status and mental health symptoms.

Abstract

Postdeployment civilian unemployment has become a common problem and source of additional stress for National Guard (NG) personnel. This study evaluated 126 California NG members, exploring the relationship between immediate postdeployment employment status and self-reported mental health symptoms, including evidence of alcohol misuse. Participants were recruited from a NG unit within the first 3 months after returning home in August 2011. Over one-third of participants reported being unemployed beyond the part-time NG commitment. Mental health symptoms were greater in those participants without civilian employment. Additionally, those participants with comorbid alcohol misuse with either depression or post-traumatic stress disorder were significantly more likely to lack civilian employment. Interaction testing revealed a significant interaction between employment status and alcohol misuse for both depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Alcohol use was concluded to moderate the relationship between civilian unemployment and mental health symptoms. Results suggest that the part-time employment provided through NG service may serve as a protective factor in the development of negative psychological outcomes, except for cases where alcohol misuse is present.

Full Reference

Kintzle, S., Hyunsung, O., Wilcox, S., Hassan, A., Ell, K. and Castro, C., 2015. Civilian Unemployment and Mental Health: The Moderating Impact of Alcohol Misuse in Returning National Guard. Military Medicine, 180(9).