Objective: To examine whether having a parent and/or a sibling currently serving in the military is associated with major depression and use of mental health services among 12–17 year old adolescents in the United States. Method: Descriptive and multivariate logistic regression analyses are conducted using pooled data from the 2016–2019 National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Analyses are weighted and standard errors are adjusted for the complex sampling design. Results: Adolescents are more likely to have a sibling than a parent currently serving in the military. Having a sibling currently in the military increases the likelihood of having a lifetime and a past-year major depressive episode (MDE), but not a past-year MDE with severe role impairment or use of mental health services. Having a parent in the military is not associated with any measure of MDE, but increases use of specialty outpatient, specialty inpatient/residential, and non-specialty mental health services net of MDE and sociodemographic controls. Conclusion: Considerable attention has focused on risk and resilience among the dependent children of current service members. A better understanding of how the current military service experiences of siblings, as well as parents, influences related adolescents’ mental health, mental health care service use, substance use, and health behaviors has the potential to contribute to programs and interventions that can enhance the well-being of youth with intra-generational, as well as inter-generational, connections to the military. Adolescents who have a sibling currently serving in the military are an at-risk population for MDE and potentially other mental and behavioral health problems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health