The Influence of Military Service Experiences on Current and Daily Drinking

Andrew S. London, Janet M. Wilmoth, William J. Oliver, Jessica A. Hausauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: An extensive public health literature associates military service with increased alcohol consumption and problematic drinking. However, few well-controlled population-based studies compare alcohol use among nonveterans and veterans with diverse military service experiences, and no such study examines everyday drinking. Methods: We use population-representative data from the 2010 and 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and distinguish four groups of men: nonveterans; non-combat veterans without a psychiatric disorder (PD) or traumatic brain injury (TBI); combat veterans without a PD or TBI; and veterans (non-combat and combat combined) with a PD and/or TBI. We estimate hierarchical multivariate logistic regression models of current drinking (N=21,947) and daily drinking (among current drinkers; N=11,491). Results from supplemental analyses are discussed. Results: Relative to nonveterans, non-combat veterans with no PD or TBI and veterans with a PD and/or TBI, respectively, but not combat veterans with no PD or TBI, are more likely to be current drinkers. Among current drinkers, non-combat and combat veterans with no PD or TBI, respectively, are less likely than nonveterans to be daily drinkers. Conversely, among current drinkers, veterans with a PD and/or TBI are more likely to be daily drinkers than nonveterans, non-combat veterans with no PD or TBI, and combat veterans with no PD or TBI. Conclusion: We document heterogeneous and countervailing influences of military service experiences on current and daily drinking. Results indicate that harmful military service experience may be associated with an increased risk of current, moderate daily drinking, which may represent a form of self-medication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1288-1299
Number of pages12
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Volume55
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2020

Keywords

  • Military
  • alcohol
  • mental health
  • self-medication
  • traumatic brain injury
  • veteran

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Influence of Military Service Experiences on Current and Daily Drinking'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this