Prevalence and correlates of alcohol misuse among returning Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans

Inger Burnett-Zeigler*, Mark Ilgen, Marcia Valenstein, Kara Zivin, Lisa Gorman, Adrian Blow, Sonia Duffy, Stephen Chermack

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Several studies have reported high rates of alcohol misuse and low rates of substance use treatment among OEF/OIF military service members. This study assessed the prevalence and correlates of alcohol misuse and the factors associated with treatment utilization among recently returned National Guard service members. Methods: The sample included 585 members of the National Guard who volunteered to complete an anonymous survey assessing mental health and substance use problems, functional status, and past treatment experiences. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed examining the significance of associations between alcohol misuse and mental health service use as outcomes and demographic variables, mental health symptoms, and military service characteristics as predictors. Barriers to treatment and factors facilitating treatment were also examined. Results: Thirty-six percent of the service members met criteria for alcohol misuse. Of those misusing alcohol, 31% reported receiving any mental health treatment and 2.5% reported receiving specific substance use treatment in the past year. The barrier to treatment most commonly endorsed by those misusing alcohol was concern that the information about treatment would appear in their records. Among those misusing alcohol who had received services, spouses were most commonly endorsed as facilitating the pursuit of care. Conclusions: Rates of alcohol misuse are high and rates of substance use treatment are low among National Guard service members. Additional research is needed to identify means of overcoming barriers to care and establish more effective approaches to facilitate linkage to care and receipt of appropriate interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-806
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume36
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2011

Keywords

  • Alcohol misuse
  • Mental health symptoms
  • OEF/OIF Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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