Social Support Critical for Military Mental Health

by U.S. Medicine

October 16, 2017

PHILADELPHIA — The Marine Resiliency Study-II examined changes in symptomatology across a deployment cycle to Afghanistan. Results were published recently in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.1

Researchers from the Philadelphia VAMC and the University of Pennsylvania conducted clinical testing on 1,041 U.S. servicemembers at two time points—either bracketing a deployment (855) or not (186).

The study team was looking at changes across the deployment cycle with deployment (low-trauma, high-trauma and nondeployed) and social support (low vs. high) as the grouping variables.

Results indicated that insomnia increased post-deployment regardless of deployment trauma, with standard effect for high-trauma and low-trauma equaling 0.39 and 0.26, respectively.

Only the high-trauma group showed increased post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and nonperspective-taking, however, for a standard effect of 0.40 and 0.30, respectively.

At the same time, the researchers reported that the low-trauma group showed decreased anxiety symptoms after deployment—standard effect 0.17).

Study authors suggested the associations also depend on social support, with standard effects ranging from −0.22 to 0.51.

“When the groups were compared, the high-trauma deployed group showed significantly worse PTSD and non-perspective-taking than all other groups,” the researchers explained. “Similar to studies in other military divisions, increased clinical symptoms were associated with high deployment stress in active-duty servicemembers, and social support shows promise as a moderator of said association.”

1. Moore TM, Risbrough VB, Baker DG, Larson GE, Glenn DE, Nievergelt CM, MaihoferA, Port AM, Jackson CT, Ruparel K, Gur RC. Effects of military service anddeployment on clinical symptomatology: The role of trauma exposure and socialsupport. J Psychiatr Res. 2017 Aug 19;95:121-128. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2017.08.013. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28843074.


Related Articles

VA Mental Health Experts Urge Intensive Pre-Enlistment Schizophrenia Screening

The most common age for diagnosis of schizophrenia is late teens to early 30s.

Automation Speeds Results and Increases Accuracy for Point-of-Care Testing at Walter Reed NMMC

With a long history of point of care testing at both of its predecessor organizations, the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) laboratory services staff were keenly aware of the advantages of using portable testing devices to obtain rapid patient assessments.


U.S. Medicine Recommends


More From department of veterans affairs

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Bill to Streamline, Expand VA’s Choice Program Signed Into Law

Legislation that would streamline VA’s community care programs into one program and expand VA’s caregiver program to veterans of all eras was signed into law earlier this month..

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Despite Criticism, VA Healthcare as Good or Better Than Other Systems

The good news from a recent consultant study is that, overall, the VA healthcare system is generally equal or better than others when inpatient and outpatient quality is measured.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Inks Contract for Massive New Health Record System

Calling it one of the largest IT contracts in the federal government, with a ceiling of $10 billion over a decade, then-VA Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie announced that the agency signed a contract with Cerner for its new electronic health record (EHR).

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Surprise! President Nominates Wilkie for Permanent VA Secretary

President Donald Trump said last month that acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie “has done an incredible job” and, in a surprise move, nominated him for the permanent Cabinet position.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Fibromyalgia Presents Differently in Male, Female Veterans

Research on fibromyalgia, a poorly understood, chronically disabling pain syndrome, generally has focused on its clinical presentation and treatment.

Facebook Comment

Subscribe to U.S. Medicine Print Magazine

U.S. Medicine is mailed free each month to physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and administrators working for Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and U.S. Public Health Service.

Subscribe Now

Receive Our Email Newsletter

Stay informed about federal medical news, clinical updates and reports on government topics for the federal healthcare professional.

Sign Up