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HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Impact on Mental Health of Deploying as an Individual Augmentee in the U.K. Armed Forces

May, 2012
Article:

An individual augmentee (IA) is a member of the military who deploys to an operational role without members of his/her usual home unit. The aim of this study is to examine the effect of deploying as an IA (rather than as a member of a formed unit) on the reporting of symptoms of PTSD, common mental disorder (CMD) and alcohol misuse, and to assess self-reported levels of unit cohesion.

Abstract

Armed Forces personnel who deploy as individual augmentees (IAs), with a unit other than their formed unit, often fill shortages or provide specialized knowledge or skill sets. This article examined the effect of deploying as an IA on mental health outcomes and unit cohesion. A U.K. military cohort study was used to compare IAs (n = 1352) with personnel who had deployed with a formed unit (n = 2980). Differences between the groups in questionnaire assessed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version), common mental disorders (General Health Questionnaire-12) and alcohol misuse (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) were examined with logistic and negative-binomial regression analyses. There was no difference between IAs and those who deployed with a formed unit in level of unit cohesion, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or common mental disorder. Deployment as an IA was associated with less alcohol misuse (Odds Ratio 0.77, 95% Confidence Interval 0.63-0.94). IAs appeared able to integrate with the group they deployed with as levels of unit cohesion were similar to personnel who deployed with a formed unit. IAs were also at a lower risk of alcohol misuse compared to personnel who deployed with a formed unit.

Full Reference

Sundin, J; Mulligan, K; Henry, S; Hull, L; Jones, N; Greenberg, N; Wessely, S; Fear, NT. Impact on Mental Health of Deploying as an Individual Augmentee in the U.K. Armed Forces. Military Medicine, Volume 177, Number 5, May 2012 , pp. 511-516(6).

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