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

Statistics from



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


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.


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.


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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  • Source of funding: Military Operational Research Program, US Army Medical Research and Material Command; the Department of Defense US Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity; and National Institute of Health, USA.

  • ▸ Table 2 and a reference list are published online only at


  • Competing interests: SW is Honorary Civilian Consultant Advisor to the British Army.

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