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Mental health outcomes in US and UK military personnel returning from Iraq.

Publication Status: Published

Sponsoring Organization: Army

Sponsoring Office: United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command

Congressionally Mandated: No

Funding Source: Army

Release Date/Publication: March 01, 2014

Principle Investigator Status: Government

Primary DoD Data Source: Other Survey

Secondary DoD Data Source:

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Research of military personnel who deployed to the conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan has suggested that there are differences in mental health outcomes between UK and US military personnel.

AIMS: To compare the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), hazardous alcohol consumption, aggressive behaviour and multiple physical symptoms in US and UK military personnel deployed to Iraq.

METHOD: Data were from one US (n = 1560) and one UK (n = 313) study of post-deployment military health of army personnel who had deployed to Iraq during 2007-2008. Analyses were stratified by high- and low-combat exposure.

RESULTS: Significant differences in combat exposure and sociodemographics were observed between US and UK personnel; controlling for these variables accounted for the difference in prevalence of PTSD, but not in the total symptom level scores. Levels of hazardous alcohol consumption (low-combat exposure: odds ratio (OR) = 0.13, 95% CI 0.07-0.21; high-combat exposure: OR = 0.23, 95% CI 0.14-0.39) and aggression (low-combat exposure: OR = 0.36, 95% CI 0.19-0.68) were significantly lower in US compared with UK personnel. There was no difference in multiple physical symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Differences in self-reported combat exposures explain most of the differences in reported prevalence of PTSD. Adjusting for self-reported combat exposures and sociodemographics did not explain differences in hazardous alcohol consumption or aggression.

Citation:

Sundin J, Herrell RK, Hoge CW, Fear NT, Adler AB, Greenberg N, Riviere LA, Thomas JL, Wessely S, Bliese PD. Mental health outcomes in US and UK military personnel returning from Iraq. Br J Psychiatry. 2014 Mar;204(3):200-7.

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