Fissette, Caitlin Lee (2015-08). Predictors of Alcohol Misuse Across the Deployment Cycle. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon

abstract

  • The present study sought to identify predictors of alcohol misuse in an active-duty sample of United States Air Force (USAF) Security Forces Airmen using a longitudinal design targeting concurrent and prospective factors as well as predictors of increase in alcohol misuse. Given the well-documented relation between alcohol misuse and negative consequences at the individual, work, and community levels, predictors of alcohol misuse were explored to determine risk factors for developing alcohol-related problems across the deployment cycle. Based upon prior evidence for the association of sociodemographic variables, mental health symptoms, interpersonal factors, and exposure to traumatic events with alcohol misuse in other military samples, the current investigation assessed the utility of these predictors within a sample of USAF Airmen following a year-long, high-risk deployment to Iraq. Results indicated that sociodemographic variables and combat exposure were largely unrelated to alcohol misuse at either pre- or post-deployment in this sample; by comparison, intrapersonal factors such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depressive symptoms significantly predicted concurrent alcohol misuse at both time points. However, the most striking finding was the large effect size for the predictive utility of intimate relationship distress, especially at post-deployment. Indeed, Airmen who endorsed relationship distress at post-deployment were over seven times more likely to engage in concurrent alcohol misuse and eight times as likely to shift from drinking within recommended limits to engaging in alcohol misuse. Implications of these findings for assessment and intervention as well as future directions for research regarding alcohol misuse across the deployment cycle were examined.
  • The present study sought to identify predictors of alcohol misuse in an active-duty sample of United States Air Force (USAF) Security Forces Airmen using a longitudinal design targeting concurrent and prospective factors as well as predictors of increase in alcohol misuse. Given the well-documented relation between alcohol misuse and negative consequences at the individual, work, and community levels, predictors of alcohol misuse were explored to determine risk factors for developing alcohol-related problems across the deployment cycle. Based upon prior evidence for the association of sociodemographic variables, mental health symptoms, interpersonal factors, and exposure to traumatic events with alcohol misuse in other military samples, the current investigation assessed the utility of these predictors within a sample of USAF Airmen following a year-long, high-risk deployment to Iraq.

    Results indicated that sociodemographic variables and combat exposure were largely unrelated to alcohol misuse at either pre- or post-deployment in this sample; by comparison, intrapersonal factors such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depressive symptoms significantly predicted concurrent alcohol misuse at both time points. However, the most striking finding was the large effect size for the predictive utility of intimate relationship distress, especially at post-deployment. Indeed, Airmen who endorsed relationship distress at post-deployment were over seven times more likely to engage in concurrent alcohol misuse and eight times as likely to shift from drinking within recommended limits to engaging in alcohol misuse. Implications of these findings for assessment and intervention as well as future directions for research regarding alcohol misuse across the deployment cycle were examined.

publication date

  • August 2015