Decreasing alcohol use among young adults presenting for service in the US Air Force: an epidemiological surveillance study
Abstract: U.S. surveys demonstrate recent decreases in the prevalence of alcohol use and binge drinking among young adults. The current study aims to determine whether similar trends are evident in a similarly aged cohort of service members in the US Air Force to inform ongoing prevention efforts. Participants were 103,240 Air Force personnel in entry-level training between 2016 and 2019. Participants anonymously completed the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test) regarding their pre-service drinking. Logistic regression analyses and the Cochran-Armitage test were conducted to measure population trends over the study duration with stratification by age (<21 vs. ≥21) and evaluation of specific alcohol behaviours. Between 2016 and 2019, the proportion of young service members endorsing any alcohol use significantly decreased for both the <21 group (i.e. from 38.9% to 32.6%) and the ≥21 group (i.e. from 80.6% to 77.5%). Among those who endorsed drinking, a decrease over time in binge use was also observed from 46.6% to 37.8% for the <21 group and from 34.2% to 27.5% for the ≥21 group. Responses to other specific alcohol risk items and total AUDIT scores also demonstrated decreases. Binge use and risky drinking remained disproportionately common among those under the legal drinking age. It is encouraging to observe a shift toward abstinence and decreased binge use among this population of young military recruits. However, given the risk for many adverse health and legal consequences in this population, more work is needed to prevent problematic drinking, especially among those under the legal drinking age.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Accumulating data suggest that the structure of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms may be more nuanced than proposed by prevailing nosological models. Emerging theory further suggests that an 8-factor model with separate internally- (e.g., flashbacks) and externally- (e.g., trauma cue-related emotional reactivity) generated intrusive symptoms may best represent PTSD symptoms. To date, however, scarce research has evaluated the fit of this model and whether index traumas are differentially associated with it in populations at high risk for trauma exposure, such as military veterans. METHODS: Data were analyzed from a nationally representative sample of 3847 trauma-exposed U.S. veterans who participated in the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study. Confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to evaluate the fit of a novel 8-factor model of PTSD symptoms relative to 4-factor DSM-5 and empirically-supported 7-factor hybrid models. RESULTS: The 8-factor model fit the data significantly better than the 7-factor hybrid and 4-factor DSM-5 models. Combat exposure and harming others were more strongly associated with internally-generated intrusions, while interpersonal violence and disaster/accident showed stronger significant associations with externally-generated intrusions. LIMITATIONS: The 8-factor model requires validation in non-veteran and more diverse trauma-exposed populations, as well as with clinician-administered interviews. CONCLUSIONS: Results of this study provide support for a novel 8-factor model of PTSD symptoms that is characterized by separate internally- and externally-generated intrusions. They also suggest that certain index traumas may lead to differential expression of these symptoms.