Psychological interventions for the treatment of depression, anxiety, alcohol misuse or anger in armed forces veterans and their families: systematic review and meta-analysis protocol.
ABSTRACT: Evidence highlights a high prevalence of common mental health disorders in armed forces veterans and their families, with depression, anxiety, alcohol misuse and anger being more common than PTSD. This paper presents a protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis to identify existing randomised controlled trial (RCT) research testing the effectiveness of psychological interventions for these difficulties in armed forces veterans and their family members.Electronic databases (CENTRAL, PsycInfo, MEDLINE, CINAHL, The Cochrane Register of Clinical Trials, EMBASE and ASSIA) will be searched to identify suitable studies for inclusion in the review supplemented by forward and backward reference checking, grey literature searches and contact with subject authors. Research including armed forces veterans and their family members will be included in the review with research including serving personnel or individuals under the age of 18 being excluded. Few RCTs examining the treatment of depression, anxiety, alcohol misuse or anger exist in armed forces veterans to date. The primary outcome will be symptomatic change following intervention for these difficulties. The secondary outcomes will include methodological aspects of interest such as discharge type and recruitment setting if data permits. In the event that the number of studies identified is too low to undertake a meta-analysis, a narrative review will be conducted. Quality assessment will be undertaken using the Cochrane Collaboration Tool and Cochran's Q statistic calculated to test for heterogeneity as suggested by the Cochrane handbook.The review will examine the findings of existing intervention research for depression, anxiety, alcohol misuse or anger in armed forces veterans and their families, along with any effect sizes that may exist.PROSPERO CRD42016036676.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To present an overview of the existing epidemiological evidence regarding the occurrence of mental health symptoms and disorders among current and former elite athletes. DESIGN:Systematic review and meta-analysis. DATA SOURCES:Five electronic databases were searched from inception to November 2018: PubMed (MEDLINE), SportDiscus via EBSCO, PSycINFO via ProQuest, Scopus and Cochrane. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR SELECTING STUDIES:We included original quantitative studies that were written in English, were conducted exclusively among current or former elite athletes, and presented incidence or prevalence rates of symptoms of mental disorders. RESULTS:Twenty-two relevant original studies about mental health symptoms and disorders among current elite athletes were included: they presented data especially on symptoms of distress, sleep disturbance, anxiety/depression and alcohol misuse. Meta-analyses comprising 2895 to 5555 current elite athletes showed that the prevalence of mental health symptoms and disorders ranged from 19% for alcohol misuse to 34% for anxiety/depression. Fifteen relevant original studies about mental health symptoms and disorders among former elite athletes were included: they similarly presented data especially about symptoms of distress, sleep disturbance, anxiety/depression and alcohol misuse. Meta-analyses comprising 1579 to 1686 former elite athletes showed that the prevalence of mental health symptoms and disorders ranged from 16% for distress to 26% for anxiety/depression. CONCLUSIONS:Our meta-analyses showed that the prevalence of mental health symptoms and disorders ranged from 19% for alcohol misuse to 34% for anxiety/depression for current elite athletes, and from 16% for distress to 26% for anxiety/depression for former elite athletes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:A small but significant proportion of military veterans become involved in the criminal justice system (CJS) after leaving service. Liaison and Diversion (L&D) services aim to identify vulnerable offenders in order to provide them with the health/welfare support they need, and (where possible) divert them away from custody. An administrative database of L&D service-users was utilised to compare the needs of veterans with those of non-veteran L&D service-users. METHOD:National data collected from 29 L&D services in 2015-2016 was utilised. Of the 62,397 cases, 1,067 (2%) reported previous service in the Armed Forces, and 48,578 had no previous service history. The associations between veteran status and socio-demographic characteristics, offending behaviour, health- and mental health-problems were explored. The associations between specific types of offending and mental health problems within the veterans in the sample were also investigated. RESULTS:Veterans tended to be older, and less likely to be unemployed than non-veterans, but just as likely to have unstable living arrangements (including homelessness). Veteran status was associated with increased levels of interpersonal violence, motoring offences, anxiety disorders and hazardous drinking patterns. Veteran status was associated with decreased levels of acquisitive offending, schizophrenia, ADHD, and substance misuse. Among veterans, the presence of an anxiety disorder (umbrella term which included GAD, Phobias, PTSD etc.) was associated with increased interpersonal violence, alcohol misuse was associated with increased motoring offences, and substance use was associated with increased acquisitive offending. CONCLUSIONS:Our study indicates that among offenders in the CJS who have been identified as needing health or welfare support, veterans differ from non-veterans in terms of their health and welfare needs and offending behaviour. These differences may be influenced by the impact of military service and the transition into civilian life. Our findings support the identification of military personnel within the CJS to provide appropriate interventions and support to improve outcomes and reduce offending.
Project description:Military personnel who have seen active service can be affected by their experiences. Much of the literature on the mental and physical health battles faced by men and women who leave the Armed Forces is dominated by research in the United States (US) (1), and is particularly focused on exposure to deployment, combat conditions, and effects on mental health. Research in the United Kingdom (UK) tends to focus on depression or alcohol misuse and the impact these issues have on currently serving personnel. This study aimed to present UK veterans' first-hand experiences related to military service, access to and use of mental healthcare and interventions, and the impact of transition on the military family. Semi-structured interviews explored experiences of 30 participants (27 male, 3 female). Participants ranged in age from 26 to 92 years (M = 53.33), and across multiple war cohorts (from WWII to Iraq and Afghanistan). Data were analyzed using Thematic Analysis and Narrative Analysis. Findings show meaning-making from experiences of transition across veteran cohorts. Main themes were reasons for leaving Armed Forces, life outside the military, and mental health concerns after service. Subordinate themes additionally focused on evaluation of identity and mental health service provision. Future clinical research should include the experiences of UK serving personnel and the effects of pre-and post-military adversity, alongside the impact of deployment experiences. Interventions designed to address transition into life after service are discussed.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Little is known about the prevalence of mental health outcomes in UK personnel at the end of the British involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.AimsWe examined the prevalence of mental disorders and alcohol misuse, whether this differed between serving and ex-serving regular personnel and by deployment status. METHOD:This is the third phase of a military cohort study (2014-2016; n = 8093). The sample was based on participants from previous phases (2004-2006 and 2007-2009) and a new randomly selected sample of those who had joined the UK armed forces since 2009. RESULTS:The prevalence was 6.2% for probable post-traumatic stress disorder, 21.9% for common mental disorders and 10.0% for alcohol misuse. Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan and a combat role during deployment were associated with significantly worse mental health outcomes and alcohol misuse in ex-serving regular personnel but not in currently serving regular personnel. CONCLUSIONS:The findings highlight an increasing prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder and a lowering prevalence of alcohol misuse compared with our previous findings and stresses the importance of continued surveillance during service and beyond. DECLARATION OF INTEREST:All authors are based at King's College London which, for the purpose of this study and other military-related studies, receives funding from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). S.A.M.S., M.J., L.H., D.P., S.M. and R.J.R. salaries were totally or partially paid by the UK MoD. The UK MoD provides support to the Academic Department of Military Mental Health, and the salaries of N.J., N.G. and N.T.F. are covered totally or partly by this contribution. D.Mu. is employed by Combat Stress, a national UK charity that provides clinical mental health services to veterans. D.MacM. is the lead consultant for an NHS Veteran Mental Health Service. N.G. is the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Lead for Military and Veterans' Health, a trustee of Walking with the Wounded, and an independent director at the Forces in Mind Trust; however, he was not directed by these organisations in any way in relation to his contribution to this paper. N.J. is a full-time member of the armed forces seconded to King's College London. N.T.F. reports grants from the US Department of Defense and the UK MoD, is a trustee (unpaid) of The Warrior Programme and an independent advisor to the Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD). S.W. is a trustee (unpaid) of Combat Stress and Honorary Civilian Consultant Advisor in Psychiatry for the British Army (unpaid). S.W. is affiliated to the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response at King's College London in partnership with Public Health England, in collaboration with the University of East Anglia and Newcastle University. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the National Health Service, the NIHR, the Department of Health, Public Health England or the UK MoD.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:This study sought to describe the prevalence of regular past year cannabis use (i.e., at least monthly use) in women veterans, to characterize women veterans reporting this level of use, and to examine the independent contributions of sexual trauma across the lifespan on regular past year cannabis use. METHODS:A national online survey on women veterans' health, with targeted oversampling of lesbian and bisexual women, collected data from US armed forces women veterans, 18 or older, living in the US (N?=?636). RESULTS:Eleven percent of women reported regular cannabis use (5% heterosexual women; 21% lesbian/bisexual women). In bivariate analysis, identifying as a sexual and/or racial ethnic minority, younger age, being unmarried, reporting lower income, receiving VA services, smoking tobacco, and screening positive for alcohol misuse were positively associated with regular cannabis use. Additionally, a greater percentage of cannabis users reported experiencing childhood and adult sexual trauma and screened positive for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when compared to peers who did not use any drugs. In a multivariate model, the number of life eras women endorsed experiencing sexual trauma was significantly associated with regular cannabis use even when adjusting for demographic variables and PTSD symptoms. CONCLUSIONS:Among women veterans, regular cannabis use is fairly common among those who are sexual and racial/ethnic minorities, younger, unmarried, receiving VA services, and reporting alcohol or tobacco use, PTSD symptoms, and/or multiple sexual traumas across the lifespan. Screening and assessment may be important to consider in healthcare settings serving this veteran population.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Depression, anxiety, and alcohol misuse predict adverse social, academic, and emotional outcomes, and their relations to one another increase during adolescence-particularly in girls. However, evidence on the directions of these relations is mixed. Longitudinal models of internalizing problem-alcohol use links may identify promising prevention targets. Accordingly, we examined reciprocal associations between anxiety severity and alcohol use, as well as between depression severity and alcohol use, in adolescent girls. METHODS:Data were drawn from a population-based longitudinal study of female adolescents. The current sample comprised 2,100 participants (57.1% Black, 42.9% White) assessed annually between ages 13 and 17. Girls self-reported depression severity, anxiety severity, and frequency of alcohol use (consumption of ?1 full drink) in the past year. Primary caregivers reported on socioeconomic and neighborhood factors; these were included with race, early puberty, and conduct problems (youth-report) as covariates. Anxiety and depression severity were included within a single cross-lagged panel model, along with alcohol use, to isolate their independent and reciprocal links to drinking behavior. RESULTS:Higher depression severity modestly predicted increased likelihood of subsequent alcohol use from ages 13 to 17. However, inconsistent relations emerged for the reverse pathway: Alcohol use modestly predicted decreased depression severity at ages 14 and 16; associations were nonsignificant in other lagged associations. Anxiety severity and alcohol use were not consistently associated. CONCLUSIONS:Results highlight the key role of depression, relative to anxiety, in predicting later alcohol use. Future studies may examine whether depression prevention programs yield secondary reductions in alcohol use in adolescent girls.
Project description:Individuals seeking substance use treatment who have one or more co-occurring mental health problems tend to have lower treatment engagement, higher rates of attrition, and poorer treatment outcomes. Readiness to change (RTC) is an integral construct in the recovery process, with higher RTC associated with improved treatment outcomes. However, the impact of psychiatric symptoms on RTC is not fully understood, especially among specialty subpopulations, such as military Veterans. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine the associations of mental health problems with RTC in a sample of Veterans initiating outpatient substance use treatment. The present sample was comprised of 278 Veterans (12% women, Mage?=?48.22, SD?=?14.06) who completed self-report intake measures assessing past month substance use frequency, substance-related consequences, symptoms of insomnia, depression, and anxiety, and importance and confidence to change one's substance use. Four separate canonical correlation analyses focusing on RTC alcohol, opioid, cannabis, and nicotine use were conducted. Veterans' inclusion in each analysis was not mutually exclusive. Results indicated that greater depression, anxiety, consequences, and frequency of alcohol use corresponded with greater importance to change alcohol use. Likewise, greater depression, anxiety, and insomnia symptoms along with frequency of use and consequences related to greater importance and confidence to change one's opioid use. In contrast, greater anxiety, depression, insomnia, and frequency of use were associated with less confidence in one's ability to change cannabis use. None of these variables were related to one's RTC nicotine use. Findings highlight the importance of assessing mental health problems at outset of substance use treatment, as they may be an indication of RTC and could be used as a catalyst to advance Veterans forward in the process of behavior change.
Project description:Information on prevalence and management of alcohol misuse among Afghanistan and Iraq veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) is limited. This study compared rates of alcohol misuse and follow-up care-brief intervention (BI) and addiction treatment-among Afghanistan and Iraq veterans with and without TBI receiving care from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).The sample included veterans ages 18 and older screened with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test alcohol consumption questions (AUDIT-C) in 2012 who received VA health care in the prior year (N=358,417). Overall and age-specific estimates of alcohol misuse (AUDIT-C score ?5) were compared for men and women with and without TBI by logistic regression. BI and addiction treatment after screening were compared between groups by using multivariable logistic regression.Alcohol misuse was higher among men with TBI than among men without TBI (20.3%, 95% confidence interval [CI]=19.9-20.8, versus 16.4%, CI=16.3-16.6) and among women with TBI than among women without TBI (6.8%, CI=5.8-8.1, versus 5.6%, CI=5.4-5.8); younger (age <30) patients with TBI had the highest rates. BI rates did not differ by TBI status (76.4%-80.2%). Addiction treatment rates for those with severe misuse were higher among those with TBI (men, 20.0%, CI=18.4-21.6, versus 15.4%, CI=14.9-15.9; women, 36.6%, CI=21.8-51.3, versus 21.1%, CI=18.2-24.0).Alcohol misuse is common among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with TBI, particularly young men. BI rates were high and did not vary by TBI status, although addiction treatment rates were higher among patients with TBI than among those without TBI.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Approximately three to six months after returning from deployment, military service members complete the Post-Deployment Health Reassessment (PDHRA), which includes screens for alcohol misuse, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To determine whether Army Reserve Component (RC) members (Army National Guard and Army Reserve) with positive screening scores on the PDHRA receive needed care, the investigators examined the association between positive scores and enrollment and utilization of care ("linkage") in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), as well as rescreening scores, diagnosis, and behavioral treatment in VHA. METHODS:Mixed-effects regression models were used to predict linkage to VHA within six months after RC members (N=73,164) completed the PDHRA, with alcohol misuse, depression, and PTSD screen scores as key independent variables. Regression models were stratified by gender and National Guard versus Reserve status. Among those who linked to VHA (N=25,168), screening scores and subsequent diagnosis and treatment in VHA were also examined. RESULTS:Army RC members with positive PTSD and depression screening scores were more likely than those with negative screens to link to VHA, and most (54%-84%) received VHA treatment once diagnosed. Positive screens for alcohol misuse were associated with linkage to VHA for men but not for women, and treatment rates for alcohol use disorders were relatively low (0%-25%) for both men and women diagnosed as having an alcohol use disorder. CONCLUSIONS:The finding that Army RC members with greater indications of behavioral health problems linked to VHA is encouraging. However, more outreach and treatment engagement strategies could be directed to those with alcohol use disorder, particularly women.
Project description:Objective: Posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) have been found to be associated with alcohol (mis)use among college students. Anxiety sensitivity has been theoretically and empirically linked to both PTSS and alcohol (mis)use. The goal of the present study was to extend research by examining the relations among PTSS, anxiety sensitivity, and alcohol misuse within a sample of trauma-exposed Black college students. Methods: Participants were 121 Black undergraduate college students who endorsed exposure to a traumatic event (M age = 22.98, 77.7% female). Results: Correlational findings provide support for significant positive relations between PTSS and both anxiety sensitivity and alcohol misuse. Further, analyses revealed a significant indirect effect of anxiety sensitivity on alcohol misuse through PTSS. Specifically, greater anxiety sensitivity was associated with higher levels of PTSS, which, in turn, were associated with higher levels of alcohol misuse. Conclusions: These findings suggest that the assessment of anxiety sensitivity may be useful in identifying trauma-exposed Black individuals who are likely to experience alcohol misuse and the clinical utility of addressing PTSS in this population reporting anxiety sensitivity to possibly prevent alcohol misuse and related negative consequences.