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    ABSTRACT: Armed Forces personnel who deploy as individual augmentees (IAs), with a unit other than their formed unit, often fill shortages or provide specialized knowledge or skill sets. This article examined the effect of deploying as an IA on mental health outcomes and unit cohesion. A U.K. military cohort study was used to compare IAs (n = 1352) with personnel who had deployed with a formed unit (n = 2980). Differences between the groups in questionnaire assessed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version), common mental disorders (General Health Questionnaire-12) and alcohol misuse (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) were examined with logistic and negative-binomial regression analyses. There was no difference between IAs and those who deployed with a formed unit in level of unit cohesion, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or common mental disorder. Deployment as an IA was associated with less alcohol misuse (Odds Ratio 0.77, 95% Confidence Interval 0.63-0.94). IAs appeared able to integrate with the group they deployed with as levels of unit cohesion were similar to personnel who deployed with a formed unit. IAs were also at a lower risk of alcohol misuse compared to personnel who deployed with a formed unit.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Military medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Most studies of the mental health of UK armed forces focus on retrospective accounts of deployment and few sample personnel while they are deployed. This study reports the results of a survey of deployed personnel, examining the perceived impact of events at home and military support for the family on current mental health during the deployment. Surveys were conducted with 2042 British forces personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prevalence of common mental disorders was assessed with the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was assessed with the PTSD Checklist - Civilian version (PCL-C). The prevalence of common mental disorders was 17.8% and of probable PTSD was 2.8%. Perceived home difficulties significantly influenced the mental health of deployed personnel; the greater the perception of negative events in the home environment, the greater the reporting of adverse mental health effects. This finding was independent of combat exposure and was only partially mitigated by being well led and reporting subjectively good unit cohesion; however, the effect of the totality of home-front events was not improved by the latter. Poor perceived military support for the family had a detrimental impact on deployment mental health. The armed forces offer many support services to the partners and families of deployed personnel and ensuring that the efforts being made on their behalf are well communicated might improve the mental health of deployed personnel.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · The British journal of psychiatry: the journal of mental science
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    ABSTRACT: Combat exposure can increase the risk of subsequent psychological ill-health in armed forces (AF) personnel. A U.S. postdeployment psycho-educational intervention, Battlemind, showed a beneficial effect on mental health in U.S. military personnel exposed to high combat levels. We evaluated the effectiveness of an anglicized version of postdeployment Battlemind. Battlemind was adapted for the United Kingdom. The main amendments were to sections about carrying weapons, driving, and alcohol misuse. The anglicized Battlemind was compared with the U.K. standard postdeployment brief in a cluster randomized controlled trial. At baseline, 2,443 U.K. AF personnel returning from Afghanistan via Cyprus completed questionnaires about their combat experiences and mental health. Of these, 1,616 (66%) completed 6-month follow-up questionnaires. We used the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL-C) to measure probable posttraumatic stress disorder and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) to measure common mental disorders. Secondary outcomes included alcohol misuse, assessed with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), and binge drinking. Mixed-effects models were used to account for possible cluster effects. We did not find a difference in mental health or overall AUDIT score. Those who received Battlemind versus the standard brief were less likely to report binge drinking, although the effect size was small (adjusted odds ratio = 0.73, 95% CI [0.58, 0.92]). The anglicized Battlemind did not improve mental health but had a modest impact on the reporting of binge drinking. Alcohol misuse is problematic in military populations; therefore, an intervention that reduces binge drinking may be helpful.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
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