240375 Prevalence of smoking in male soldiers and its association with aggressive behavior

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Robin L. Toblin, PhD, MPH , Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, MD
Lyndon Riviere, PhD , Center for Military Psychiatry and Neurosciences, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring
Objectives: Smoking rates are markedly higher in the military than the general population, particularly following combat. The highest rates are seen in the Army. Though the co-morbidity of smoking and mental illness is well-established, and aggressive behavior has been associated with mental illness in a military population, aggressive behavior has not been examined as correlate of smoking. This study examines the prevalence of smoking in male soldiers from combat brigades and its association with aggressive behavior.

Methods: 2,416 male soldiers completed comprehensive behavioral health surveys six months after returning from Iraq. Soldiers reported the average daily number of cigarettes consumed in the previous month. Aggressive behavior was calculated by summing the frequency of three behaviors measured on a 5-point scale: kicking/punching something in anger, making threats of physical violence, and getting in a physical fight. Analyses were conducted using multiple linear regression.

Results: Overall, 48.9% of soldiers reported smoking at least one cigarette daily with 18.9% smoking a pack a day or more. After controlling for demographic variables, combat exposure, combat injury, adverse childhood experiences, alcohol abuse, and mental health symptoms, aggressive behavior was positively related to the number of cigarettes consumed (β= .10, t = 3.29, p < .001).

Conclusions: Nearly half of male soldiers reported smoking six months post-deployment with one-fifth smoking a pack or more a day. Even after adjusting for common correlates, aggressive behavior was associated with cigarette consumption. The Army should consider incorporating anger management techniques into smoking cessation programs.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the prevalence of smoking in an Army combat brigade Analyze the association between aggressive behavior and cigarette consumption

Keywords: Smoking, Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a strong background in epidemiology, the aggressive behavior literature, and work with active duty soldiers in a clinical setting.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.