HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Reckless Self‐Destructive Behavior and PTSD in Veterans: The Mediating Role of New Adverse Events

Article

Military personnel engage in reckless and self‐destructive behaviors (RSDB) including substance abuse, self‐harm, excessive gambling, and aggression more frequently than their civilian counterparts. These behaviors pose a serious public health burden, as illustrated by recent findings indicating that the risk of suicide is 41.0 to 61.0% higher for veterans than it is for civilians, and that veterans are more frequently incarcerated for violent offenses than nonveterans. Given the significant social and financial costs associated with RSDB, this article explores how these behaviors impact the health and well‐being of veterans.

Abstract

Military personnel engage in reckless and self‐destructive behaviors (RSDB) including substance abuse, self‐harm, excessive gambling, and aggression more frequently than their civilian counterparts (Killgore et al., 2008; Thomsen, Stander, McWhorter, Rabenhorst, & Milner, 2011). These behaviors pose a serious public health burden, as illustrated by recent findings indicating that the risk of suicide is 41.0 to 61.0% higher for veterans than it is for civilians (Kang et al., 2015), and that veterans are more frequently incarcerated for violent offenses than nonveterans (Berzofsky, Bronson, Cason, & Noonan, 2015). Given the significant social and financial costs associated with RSDB, more research is needed to better understand how these behaviors impact the health and well‐being of veterans. Moreover, the addition of the “reckless and self‐destructive behavior” symptom in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM‐5; American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013) posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis highlights the importance of understanding the interplay of RSDB and PTSD.

Full Reference

Lusk, J.D., Sadeh, N., Wolf, E.J., Miller, M.W., 2017. Reckless Self‐Destructive Behavior and PTSD in Veterans: The Mediating Role of New Adverse Events. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 30(3), pp.270-278.