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Combat exposure increases risk of alcohol misuse in military personnel following deployment

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QUESTION

Question:

How does combat exposure affect alcohol consumption, binge drinking behaviour and other alcohol related problems in US military personnel?

People:

48 481 people enrolled in the Millennium Cohort Study. Exclusions: missing demographic or other covariate data; did not answer alcohol outcome questions; deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan before baseline assessment; or took survey while deployed.

Setting:

Military service personnel, USA; recruitment July 2001 to June 2003.

Risk factors:

Combat exposure during deployment, defined as: personally witnessing a person’s death due to war, disaster of tragic event; witnessing physical abuse; or seeing dead or decomposing bodies, maimed soldiers or civilians, or prisoners of war or refugees.

Outcomes:

New onset of heavy weekly drinking, binge drinking or alcohol related problems among people with no reported alcohol outcomes at baseline; increased heavy weekly drinking, binge drinking or alcohol related problems among people reporting alcohol outcomes at baseline. Heavy weekly drinking was defined as more than 14 …

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