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Studies

Welcome to the Military Health System Studies Inventory Tool (MSIT). Military Health System (MHS) data are used by Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, and academic health professionals and scientists to implement health care studies. These studies reflect the MHS interest to rigorously assess and improve our beneficiaries’ access to the high quality health care services they need. Additionally, these studies are frequently used to develop or improve MHS policy and often adopt useful, relevant comparisons to the national health care experience.

The MSIT allows easy review of recent studies that are either conducted or sponsored by the MHS, or accomplished using datasets developed or maintained by the Defense Health Agency for administrative, operational, or research purposes. The studies within this website represent important contributions of the MHS to the national health care dialogue and reflect our capacity to tackle the challenging issues needed to support evidence-informed health policy. Thank you for your interest in them.

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Operational Physical Performance and Fitness in Military Women: Physiological, Musculoskeletal Injury, and Optimized Physical Training Considerations for Successfully Integrating Women Into Combat-Centric Military Occupations.

Study

Abstract

This article summarizes presentations from a 2014 United States Department of Defense (DoD) Health Affairs Women in Combat symposium addressing physiological, musculoskeletal injury, and optimized physical training considerations from the operational physical performance section. The symposium was held to provide a state-of-the-science meeting on the U.S. DoD's rescinding of the ground combat exclusion policy opening up combat-centric occupations to women. Physiological, metabolic, body composition, bone density, cardiorespiratory fitness, and thermoregulation differences between men and women were briefly reviewed. Injury epidemiological data are presented within military training and operational environments demonstrating women to be at a higher risk for musculoskeletal injuries than men. Physical training considerations for improved muscle strength and power, occupational task performance, load carriage were also reviewed. Particular focus of this article was given to translating physiological and epidemiological findings from the literature on these topics toward actionable guidance and policy recommendations for military leaders responsible for military physical training doctrine: (1) inclusion of resistance training with special emphasis on strength and power development (i.e., activation of high-threshold motor units and recruitment of type II high-force muscle fibers), upper-body strength development, and heavy load carriage, (2) moving away from "field expediency" as the major criteria for determining military physical training policy and training implementation, (3) improvement of load carriage ability with emphasis placed on specific load carriage task performance, combined with both resistance and endurance training, and (4) providing greater equipment resources, coaching assets, and increased training time dedicated to physical readiness training.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: January 01, 2016
  • Citation: Nindl BC, Jones BH, Van Arsdale SJ, Kelly K, Kraemer WJ. Operational Physical Performance and Fitness in Military Women. Mil Med. 2016 Jan;181(1 Suppl):50-62.

Gender Differences Among Military Combatants: Does Social Support, Ostracism, and Pain Perception Influence Psychological Health?

Study

Abstract

The literature on gender differences related to psychological health among in-theater service members who are deployed in a combatant role is limited. Much focuses on retrospective reports of service members who have returned from deployment. Potential key factors that contribute to gender differences in psychological health among combatants are found in literature across several topic areas, but integration of findings across disciplines is lacking. A growing body of literature on gender differences related to psychological health of postdeployment military populations suggests males and females respond differently to perceived levels of social support pre-and postdeployment. One study on service members who were deployed suggested no significant gender differences related to reported psychological health symptoms, but did appear to find significant gender differences related to reported perception of unit morale. In another related area, research explores how ostracism impacts physical and psychological health of individuals and organizations, and can result in perceptions of physical pain, although research on gender differences related to the impact of ostracism is scarce. Research has also begun to focus on sex differences in pain responses, and has identified multiple biopsychosocial, genetic, and hormonal factors that may contribute as potential underlying mechanisms. In this brief review, we focus on and begin to integrate relevant findings related to the psychological health of females in combat roles, gender differences in the impact of perception of social support on psychological health, the psychological and physical impact of ostracism on individuals and organizations, and the current literature on sex differences in pain perception. We conclude with a synthesis and discussion of research gaps identified through this review, implications for clinical practice, and potential future research directions. In conclusion, there appear to be gender differences related to the presence or absence of social support, the impact of ostracism, and the perception of pain. These differences may play a critical role in the psychological health of female combatants. More research on this topic is needed.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Release Date/Publication: January 01, 2016
  • Citation: McGraw K. Gender Differences Among Military Combatants: Does Social Support, Ostracism, and Pain Perception Influence Psychological Health? Mil Med. 2016 Jan;181(1 Suppl):80-5.

Profile Analysis of the Neurobehavioral and Psychiatric Symptoms Following Combat-Related Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Identification of Subtypes.

Study

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To explore the taxonomy of combat-related mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) based on symptom patterns. PARTICIPANTS: Up to 1341 military personnel who experienced a combat-related mTBI within 2 years of evaluation. MEASURES: Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory and PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C). RESULTS: Cluster analysis revealed the following 4 subtypes: primarily psychiatric (posttraumatic stress disorder) group, a cognitive group, a mixed symptom group, and a good recovery group. The posttraumatic stress disorder cluster (21.9% of the sample) reported symptoms related to hyperarousal and dissociation/depression with few complaints related to cognition or headaches. The cognitive group (21.5% of the sample) had primarily cognitive and headache complaints with few mood symptoms. The mixed profile cluster included 18.6% of the sample and was characterized by a combination of mood complaints (hyperarousal and dissociation/depression), cognitive complaints, and headaches. The largest cluster (37.8% of the sample) had an overall low symptom profile and was labeled the "good recovery" group. CONCLUSIONS: The results support a unique taxonomy for combat-related mTBI. The clinical differences among these subtypes indicate a need for unique treatment resources and programs.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center/Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: January 01, 2016
  • Citation: Bailie JM, Kennedy JE, French LM, Marshall K, Prokhore, et.al., Profile Analysis of the Neurobehavioral and Psychiatric Symptoms Following Combat-Related Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2016 Jan-Feb;31(1):2-12.

Comparison of Suicide Attempters and Decedents in the U.S. Army: A Latent Class Analysis.

Study

Abstract

A clearer understanding of risk factors for suicidal behavior among soldiers is of principal importance to military suicide prevention. It is unclear whether soldiers who attempt suicide and those who die by suicide have different patterns of risk factors. As such, preventive efforts aimed toward reducing suicide attempts and suicides, respectively, may require different strategies. We conducted a latent class analysis (LCA) to examine classes of risk factors among suicide attempters (n = 1,433) and decedents (n = 424). Both groups were represented by three classes: (1) External/Antisocial Risk Factors, (2) Mental Health Risk Factors, and (3) No Pattern. These findings support the conceptualization that military suicide attempters and decedents represent a single population.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: January 01, 2016
  • Citation: Skopp NA, Smolenski DJ, Sheppard SC, Bush NE, Luxton DD. Comparison of Suicide Attempters and Decedents in the U.S. Army: A Latent Class Analysis. Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2016 Jan 8.

Sudden cardiac death associated with physical exertion in the US military, 2005-2010.

Study

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Sudden cardiac death associated with physical exertion (SCD/E) is a complicated pathophysiological event. This study aims to calculate the incidence rate of SCD/E in the US military population from 2005 to 2010, to characterise the demographic and cardiovascular risk profiles of decedents, and to evaluate aetiologies of and circumstances surrounding the deaths. METHODS: Perimortem and other relevant data were collected from the Armed Forces Medical Examiners Tracking System, Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application, and Defense Medical Epidemiology Database for decedents meeting SCD/E case definition. Incidence rates were calculated and compared using negative binomial regression. RESULTS: The incidence of SCD/E in the Active Component (ie, full-time active duty) US military from 2005 to 2010 was 1.63 per 100 000 person-years (py): 0.98 and 3.84 per 100 000 py in those aged <35 and ≥35 years, respectively. Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death overall (55%) and in the ≥35-year age group (78%), whereas the leading cause of death in the <35-year age group (31%) could not be precisely determined and was termed idiopathic SCD/E (iSCD/E). SCD/E was more common in males than females (incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 5.28, 95% CI 2.16 to 12.93) and more common in blacks than whites (IRR=2.60, 95% CI 1.81 to 3.72). All female cases were black. CONCLUSIONS: From 2005 to 2010, the incidence of SCD/E in US military members aged <35 years was similar to most reported corresponding civilian SCD rates. However, the leading cause of death was iSCD/E and not cardiomyopathy. Improved surveillance and age-based prevention strategies may reduce these rates.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: January 01, 2016
  • Citation: Smallman DP, Webber BJ, Mazuchowski EL, Scher AI, Jones SO, Cantrell JA. Sudden cardiac death associated with physical exertion in the US military, 2005-2010. Br J Sports Med. 2016 Jan;50(2):118-23.

Gender Differences in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Help Seeking in the U.S. Army.

Study

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Inconsistent findings between studies of gender differences in mental health outcomes in military samples have left open questions of differential prevalence in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among all United States Army soldiers and in differential psychosocial and comorbid risk and protective factor profiles and their association with receipt of treatment. METHODS: This study assesses the prevalence and risk factors of screening positive for PTSD for men and women based on two large, population-based Army samples obtained as part of the 2005 and 2008 U.S. Department of Defense Surveys of Health Related Behaviors among Active Duty Military Personnel. RESULTS: The study showed that overall rates of PTSD, as measured by several cutoffs of the PTSD Checklist, are similar between active duty men and women, with rates increasing in both men and women between the two study time points. Depression and problem alcohol use were strongly associated with a positive PTSD screen in both genders, and combat exposure was significantly associated with a positive PTSD screen in men. Overall, active duty men and women who met criteria for PTSD were equally likely to receive mental health counseling or treatment, though gender differences in treatment receipt varied by age, race, social support (presence of spouse at duty station), history of sexual abuse, illness, depression, alcohol use, and combat exposure. CONCLUSIONS: The study demonstrates that the prevalence of PTSD as well as the overall utilization of mental health services is similar for active duty men compared with women. However, there are significant gender differences in predictors of positive PTSD screens and receipt of PTSD treatment.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: January 01, 2016
  • Citation: Hourani L, Williams J, Bray RM, Wilk JE, Hoge CW. Gender Differences in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Help Seeking in the U.S. Army. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2016 Jan;25(1):22-31.

Clinical Utility and Psychometric Properties of the Traumatic Brain Injury Quality of Life Scale (TBI-QOL) in US Military Service Members.

Study

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To examine the clinical utility and psychometric properties of the Traumatic Brain Injury Quality of Life (TBI-QOL) scale in a US military population. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred fifty-two US military service members (age: M = 34.3, SD = 9.4; 89.5% men) prospectively enrolled from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and other nationwide community outreach initiatives. Participants included 99 service members who had sustained a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) and 53 injured or noninjured controls without TBI (n = 29 and n = 24, respectively). PROCEDURE: Participants completed the TBI-QOL scale and 5 other behavioral measures, on average, 33.8 months postinjury (SD = 37.9). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Fourteen TBI-QOL subscales; Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Civilian version; Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test; Combat Exposure Scale. RESULTS: The internal consistency reliability of the TBI-QOL scales ranged from α = .91 to α = .98. The convergent and discriminant validity of the 14 TBI-QOL subscales was high. The mild TBI group had significantly worse scores on 10 of the 14 TBI-QOL subscales than the control group (range, P < .001 to P = .043). Effect sizes ranged from medium to very large (d = 0.35 to d = 1.13). The largest differences were found on the Cognition-General Concerns (d = 1.13), Executive Function (d = 0.94), Grief-Loss (d = 0.88), Pain Interference (d = 0.83), and Headache Pain (d = 0.83) subscales. CONCLUSION: These results support the use of the TBI-QOL scale as a measure of health-related quality of life in a mild TBI military sample. Additional research is recommended to further evaluate the clinical utility of the TBI-QOL scale in both military and civilian settings.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: January 01, 2016
  • Citation: Lange RT, Brickell TA, Bailie JM, Tulsky DS, French LM. Clinical Utility and Psychometric Properties of the Traumatic Brain Injury Quality of Life Scale (TBI-QOL) in US Military Service Members. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2016 Jan-Feb;31(1):62-78.

The Epidemiology of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the US Military: Findings from the Millennium Cohort Study.

Study

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Functional gastrointestinal disorders occur more frequently among deployed veterans, although studies evaluating the relative impact of risk factors, including stress and antecedent infectious gastroenteritis (IGE), are limited. We examined risk factors for new-onset irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) among active duty participants in the military's Millennium Cohort Study. METHODS: Medical encounter data from 2001 to 2009, limited to Cohort members on active duty, were used to identify incident IBS cases (any and highly probable). IGE was identified using medical encounter or self-report. Covariate data were obtained from the Millennium Cohort Study surveys and analyzed using Cox proportional hazards methods. RESULTS: Overall, 41,175 Cohort members met the eligibility criteria for inclusion and 314 new-onset cases of IBS were identified among these. Significant risk factors (adjusted hazard ratio, 95% confidence interval) included antecedent IGE (2.05, 1.53-2.75), female gender (1.96, 1.53-2.52), number of life stressors (1: 1.82, 1.37-2.41; 2: 2.86, 2.01-4.06; 3+: 6.69, 4.59-9.77), and anxiety syndrome (1.74, 1.17-2.58). Limited to highly probable IBS, a stronger association with antecedent IGE was observed, particularly when based on medical encounter records (any IGE: 2.20, 1.10-4.43; medical encounter IGE only: 2.84, 1.33-6.09). Precedent anxiety or depression and IGE interacted with increased IBS risk compared with IGE alone. CONCLUSIONS: These results confirm previous studies on the association between sociodemographic or life stressors and IBS. IGE was significantly associated with IBS risk. Whether deployed or not, US service members often encounter repeated exposure to high levels of stress, which, combined with other environmental factors such as IGE, may result in long-term debilitating functional gastrointestinal disorders.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: January 01, 2016
  • Citation: Riddle MS, Welsh M, Porter CK, Nieh C, Boyko EJ, Gackstetter G, Hooper TI. The Epidemiology of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the US Military: Findings from the Millennium Cohort Study. Am J Gastroenterol. 2016 Jan;111(1):93-104.

The Effect of a Golden Hour Policy on the Morbidity and Mortality of Combat Casualties.

Study

Abstract

IMPORTANCE: The term golden hour was coined to encourage urgency of trauma care. In 2009, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates mandated prehospital helicopter transport of critically injured combat casualties in 60 minutes or less. OBJECTIVES: To compare morbidity and mortality outcomes for casualties before vs after the mandate and for those who underwent prehospital helicopter transport in 60 minutes or less vs more than 60 minutes. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A retrospective descriptive analysis of battlefield data examined 21 089 US military casualties that occurred during the Afghanistan conflict from September 11, 2001, to March 31, 2014. Analysis was conducted from September 1, 2014, to January 21, 2015. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Data for all casualties were analyzed according to whether they occurred before or after the mandate. Detailed data for those who underwent prehospital helicopter transport were analyzed according to whether they occurred before or after the mandate and whether they occurred in 60 minutes or less vs more than 60 minutes. Casualties with minor wounds were excluded. Mortality and morbidity outcomes and treatment capability-related variables were compared. RESULTS: For the total casualty population, the percentage killed in action (16.0% [386 of 2411] vs 9.9% [964 of 9755]; P < .001) and the case fatality rate ([CFR] 13.7 [469 of 3429] vs 7.6 [1344 of 17 660]; P < .001) were higher before vs after the mandate, while the percentage died of wounds (4.1% [83 of 2025] vs 4.3% [380 of 8791]; P = .71) remained unchanged. Decline in CFR after the mandate was associated with an increasing percentage of casualties transported in 60 minutes or less (regression coefficient, -0.141; P < .001), with projected vs actual CFR equating to 359 lives saved. Among 4542 casualties (mean injury severity score, 17.3; mortality, 10.1% [457 of 4542]) with detailed data, there was a decrease in median transport time after the mandate (90 min vs 43 min; P < .001) and an increase in missions achieving prehospital helicopter transport in 60 minutes or less (24.8% [181 of 731] vs 75.2% [2867 of 3811]; P < .001). When adjusted for injury severity score and time period, the percentage killed in action was lower for those critically injured who received a blood transfusion (6.8% [40 of 589] vs 51.0% [249 of 488]; P < .001) and were transported in 60 minutes or less (25.7% [205 of 799] vs 30.2% [84 of 278]; P < .01), while the percentage died of wounds was lower among those critically injured initially treated by combat support hospitals (9.1% [48 of 530] vs 15.7% [86 of 547]; P < .01). Acute morbidity was higher among those critically injured who were transported in 60 minutes or less (36.9% [295 of 799] vs 27.3% [76 of 278]; P < .01), those severely and critically injured initially treated at combat support hospitals (severely injured, 51.1% [161 of 315] vs 33.1% [104 of 314]; P < .001; and critically injured, 39.8% [211 of 530] vs 29.3% [160 of 547]; P < .001), and casualties who received a blood transfusion (50.2% [618 of 1231] vs 3.7% [121 of 3311]; P < .001), emphasizing the need for timely advanced treatment. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: A mandate made in 2009 by Secretary of Defense Gates reduced the time between combat injury and receiving definitive care. Prehospital transport time and treatment capability are important factors for casualty survival on the battlefield.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: January 01, 2016
  • Citation: Kotwal RS, Howard JT, Orman JA, Tarpey BW, Bailey JA, Champion HR, Mabry RL, Holcomb JB, Gross KR. The Effect of a Golden Hour Policy on the Morbidity and Mortality of Combat Casualties. JAMA Surg. 2016 Jan 1;151(1):15-24.

Toxoplasma gondii seroprevalence: 30-year trend in an HIV-infected US military cohort.

Study

Abstract

To determine if Toxoplasma gondii IgG antibody prevalence is declining in HIV-infected persons, we analyzed data (1984-2013) from the US Military HIV Natural History Study. We found that T. gondii seroprevalence at enrollment was associated with age and decreased significantly after 1995 (P=0.004), similar to the general US population.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: January 01, 2016
  • Citation: O'Bryan TA, Okulicz JF, Bradley WP, Ganesan A, Merritt SE, Agan BK. Toxoplasma gondii seroprevalence: 30-year trend in an HIV-infected US military cohort. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2016 Jan;84(1):34-5.

Association of Injury History and Incident Injury in Cadet Basic Military Training.

Study

Abstract

PURPOSE: To determine the association between injury history at enrollment and incident lower extremity (LE) injury during cadet basic training among first-year military cadets. METHODS: Medically treated LE injuries during cadet basic training documented in the Defense Medical Surveillance System (DMSS) were ascertained in a prospective cohort study of three large U.S. military academies from 2005-2008. Both acute injuries (ICD-9 codes in the 800-900s, including fracture, dislocations, sprains/strains) and injury-related musculoskeletal injuries (ICD-9 codes in the 700s, including inflammation and pain, joint derangement, stress fracture, sprain/strain/rupture, and dislocation) were included. Risk ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed using multivariate log-binomial models stratified by gender. RESULTS: During basic training there were 1,438 medically treated acute and 1,719 musculoskeletal-related LE injuries in the 9,811 cadets. The most frequent LE injuries were sprains/strains (73.6% of acute) and inflammation and pain (89.6% of musculoskeletal-related). The overall risk of incident LE injury was 23.2% [95%CI: 22.3%, 24.0%]. Cadets with a previous history of LE injury were at increased risk for incident LE injury. This association was identical in males (RR=1.74 [1.55, 1.94]) and females (RR=1.74 [1.52, 1.99]). In site-specific analyses, strong associations between injury history and incident injury were observed for hip, knee ligament, stress fracture, and ankle sprain. Injury risk was greater (p<0.01) for females (39.1%) compared to males (18.0%). The elevated injury risk in females (RR=2.19 [2.04, 2.36]) was independent of injury history (adjusted RR=2.09 [1.95, 2.24]). CONCLUSION: Injury history upon entry to the military is associated with incidence of LE injuries sustained during cadet basic training. Prevention programs targeted at modifiable factors in cadets with a prior history of LE injury should be considered.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: January 01, 2016
  • Citation: Kucera KL, Marshall SW, Wolf SH, Padua DA, Cameron KL, Beutler AI. Association of Injury History and Incident Injury in Cadet Basic Military Training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016 Jan 13.

Combat-Acquired Traumatic Brain Injury, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Their Relative Associations With Postdeployment Binge Drinking.

Study

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To examine whether experiencing a traumatic brain injury (TBI) on a recent combat deployment was associated with postdeployment binge drinking, independent of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). METHODS: Using the 2008 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors among Active Duty Military Personnel, an anonymous survey completed by 28 546 personnel, the study sample included 6824 personnel who had a combat deployment in the past year. Path analysis was used to examine whether PTSD accounted for the total association between TBI and binge drinking. MAIN MEASURES: The dependent variable, binge drinking days, was an ordinal measure capturing the number of times personnel drank 5+ drinks on one occasion (4+ for women) in the past month. Traumatic brain injury level captured the severity of TBI after a combat injury event exposure: TBI-AC (altered consciousness only), TBI-LOC of 20 or less (loss of consciousness up to 20 minutes), and TBI-LOC of more than 20 (loss of consciousness >20 minutes). A PTSD-positive screen relied on the standard diagnostic cutoff of 50+ on the PTSD Checklist-Civilian. RESULTS: The final path model found that while the direct effect of TBI (0.097) on binge drinking was smaller than that of PTSD (0.156), both were significant. Almost 70% of the total effect of TBI on binge drinking was from the direct effect; only 30% represented the indirect effect through PTSD. CONCLUSION: Further research is needed to replicate these findings and to understand the underlying mechanisms that explain the relationship between TBI and increased postdeployment drinking.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Federal government department, agency, or organization, other than the Department of Defense
  • Release Date/Publication: January 01, 2016
  • Citation: Adams RS, Larson MJ, Corrigan JD, Ritter GA, Horgan CM, et.al., Combat-Acquired Traumatic Brain Injury, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Their Relative Associations With Postdeployment Binge Drinking. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2016 Jan-Feb;31(1):13-22.

Durations of service until first and recurrent episodes of clinically significant back pain, active component military members: changes among new accessions to service since calendar year 2000.

Study

Abstract

This report summarizes frequencies and timing of first and recurrent episodes of back pain treated in the U.S. Military Health System among more than 2 million military members who began active service between July 2000 and June 2012. In the population overall, at least 5% were affected by clinically significant back pain within 6 months and 10% within 13 months of beginning active service; and 34% had at least one episode of back pain while in active service during the surveillance period. After initial episodes of back pain, more than half (54%) of those affected had at least one recurrent episode; and after first recurrences, 65% had second recurrences while still in active service. In general, back pain episode-free periods preceding initial and between successive episodes markedly decreased during the period. Frequencies and timing of back pain episodes varied in relation to service branch, gender, and occupation. Acute back pain is a common disorder that is unpredictable in onset and often debilitating. Its prevention should be a military medical research objective of high priority.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Release Date/Publication: January 01, 2016
  • Citation: Brundage JF, Hu Z, Clark LL. Durations of service until first and recurrent episodes of clinically significant back pain, active component military members: changes among new accessions to service since calendar year 2000. MSMR. 2016 Jan;23(1):7-15.

Assessment of Deployment-Related Exposures on Risk of Incident Mental Health Diagnoses Among Air Force Critical Care Providers: Nested Case-Control Study.

Study

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to determine the association between deployment-related occupational/environmental exposures and incident postdeployment mental health (PDMH) conditions in a defined population of military health care professionals working in the deployed critical care environment. METHODS: A nested case-control study compared cohort members with a PDMH condition (cases, N = 146) with those without a PDMH condition (controls, N = 800) in terms of deployment-related exposures as ascertained using Postdeployment Health Assessment DD 2796 questionnaire data. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to compute odds ratios. RESULTS: Nonphysician career fields (i.e., nurses and medical technicians), exposure to dead bodies or people killed/wounded, history of a vehicular accident/crash, exposure to sand/dust, exposure to lasers, and use of mission-oriented protective posture (MOPP) overgarments were associated with increased likelihood for a PDMH condition. The infrequent exposures (i.e., vehicular accident/crash, lasers, and MOPP overgarments) were the exposures most strongly associated with subsequent PDHM conditions. CONCLUSIONS: For military health care providers returning from the deployed environment, several exposures are useful for predicting those at increased risk for a PDMH condition. However, there are likely many other important risk factors beyond those captured on the DD 2796 questionnaire.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Air Force
  • Sponsoring Office:
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Air Force
  • Release Date/Publication: February 01, 2016
  • Citation: Tvaryanas AP, Maupin GM, Fouts BL. Assessment of Deployment-Related Exposures on Risk of Incident Mental Health Diagnoses Among Air Force Critical Care Providers: Nested Case-Control Study. Mil Med. 2016 Feb;181(2):143-51.

The Importance of Military Cultural Competence.

Study

Abstract

Military cultural competence has recently gained national attention. Experts have posited that limited outcomes in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression in the military may be related to limited familiarity with the military. National surveys have indicated low military cultural competence among providers and limited educational efforts on military culture or pertinent military pathology in medical schools and residency training programs. Military families, with their own unique military cultural identity, have been identified as a population with increased risks associated with deployment. In response to these findings, several curricula regarding military culture have been established and widely distributed. Assessments of military cultural competence have also been developed. The clinical impact of enhanced cultural competence in general has thus far been limited. The military, however, with its highly prescribed cultural identity, may be a model culture for further study.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: February 01, 2016
  • Citation: Meyer EG, Writer BW, Brim W. The Importance of Military Cultural Competence. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2016 Mar;18(3):26.
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