Post deployment Battle-mind Training for the U.K. Armed Forces: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial

June, 2012

This study aimed to compare the efficacy of post-deployment Battle-mind training with the standard stress and homecoming briefs among U.K. armed forces personnel.


OBJECTIVE: Combat exposure can increase the risk of subsequent psychological ill-health in armed forces (AF) personnel. A U.S. post-deployment psycho-educational intervention, Battle-mind, showed a beneficial effect on mental health in U.S. military personnel exposed to high combat levels. We evaluated the effectiveness of an anglicized version of post-deployment Battle-mind. METHOD: Battle-mind was adapted for the United Kingdom. The main amendments were to sections about carrying weapons, driving, and alcohol misuse. The anglicized Battle-mind was compared with the U.K. standard post-deployment brief in a cluster randomized controlled trial. At baseline, 2,443 U.K. AF personnel returning from Afghanistan via Cyprus completed questionnaires about their combat experiences and mental health. Of these, 1,616 (66%) completed 6-month follow-up questionnaires. We used the Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL-C) to measure probable post-traumatic stress disorder and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) to measure common mental disorders. Secondary outcomes included alcohol misuse, assessed with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), and binge drinking. Mixed-effects models were used to account for possible cluster effects. RESULTS: We did not find a difference in mental health or overall AUDIT score. Those who received Battlemind versus the standard brief were less likely to report binge drinking, although the effect size was small (adjusted odds ratio = 0.73, 95% CI [0.58, 0.92]). CONCLUSIONS: The anglicized Battle-mind did not improve mental health but had a modest impact on the reporting of binge drinking. Alcohol misuse is problematic in military populations; therefore, an intervention that reduces binge drinking may be helpful

Full Reference

Mulligan, K; Fear, N.T; Jones, N; Alvarez, H; Hull, L; Naumann, U; Wessely, S; Greenberg, N (2012). Post-deployment Battle-mind Training for the U.K. Armed Forces: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology; doi: 10.1037/a0027664

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