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Cucciare MA, Mengeling MA, Han X, Torner J, Sadler AG. Associations between Augmentee Status, Deployment Stress Preparedness and Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Binge Drinking in U.S. Servicewomen. Women's health issues : official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. 2020 May 1; 30(3):207-213.
BACKGROUND: Being deployed without one's home unit (individual-augmentee) and low perceived deployment preparedness are risk factors for mental health symptoms and substance use in male service members. However, these relationships have not been examined specifically in U.S. servicewomen. This study sought to fill this gap by examining associations between augmentee status and deployment stress preparedness (independent variables) and depression, probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and binge drinking (dependent variables) in a sample of U.S. servicewomen. METHODS: A community sample of service women from the Midwest, including both veterans and those serving at the time of data collection (N = 991), completed structured telephone interviews. Logistic regression was used to examine associations between augmentee status, deployment stress preparedness, and the likelihood of reporting depression, probable PTSD, and binge drinking after controlling for covariates. RESULTS: Findings showed that U.S. servicewomen in the Reserve/Guard who deployed as individual-augmentees were more likely to screen positive for depression, report probable PTSD, and disclose recent binge drinking than servicewomen in the Reserve/Guard deployed with their home unit. Also, among servicewomen deployed as individual-augmentees, those in the Reserve/Guard were more likely to report binge drinking than servicewomen in the active component. No statistically significant associations between deployment stress preparedness and mental health symptoms or binge drinking were observed. CONCLUSIONS: Servicewomen in the Reserve/Guard who deployed as individual-augmentees may be at increased risk for depression, probable PTSD, and hazardous drinking when compared with their active component and Reserve/Guard peers deployed with their home units.