Alcohol dependence and mental health among LGBT persons in the US military
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
: 8:30 a.m. - 8:42 a.m.
Background: In 2010, Congress voted to lift the restrictions on openly lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons serving in the US military. Methods: An internet-based survey was completed by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military personnel. A total of 226 participants, ages 18-73 (M=30), who served in the past five years completed the survey, which included the AUDIT to assess for alcohol dependence (scores >13 for women, >15 for men), and measures of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and stress-related growth. Results: The majority (75%) were active duty, and the sample was well distributed across military branches. Most (88%) identified as gay or lesbian; 63% were male, 31% female, and 6% transgender; 31% were racial/ethnicity minorities. Depression, anxiety, and PTSD were significantly associated (r's>.70, p<.001) and all three were significantly higher among those with alcohol dependence (p<.01). Logistic regression showed depression (AOR=3.04, p<.01) and PTSD (AOR=1.07, p<.05) significantly increased the odds of alcohol dependence while anxiety (AOR=0.29, p<.05) significantly decreased the odds. Stress-related growth (AOR=0.89, p<.01) was a significant predictor of decreased odds of alcohol dependence. Conclusions: Findings suggest a potential syndemic of interrelated problems alcohol dependence, depression, anxiety, PTSD facing LGBT military personnel. Increased efforts should focus on the assessment and provision of treatment for the mental health concerns of LGBT military personnel. Moreover, given that stress-related growth appears to mitigate the negative impact of psychological distress on alcohol dependence, this and other forms of resilience should be studied for ways they might buffer syndemic problems in this population.
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Explain the bivariate relationships between alcohol dependence, PTSD, and mental health factors (anxiety and depression) in a sample of LGBT persons in the US military.
Describe how stress-related growth may be a resilience factor in lessening the impact of psychological distress on alcohol dependence.
Keyword(s): Alcohol Use, Mental Health
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI of the study and the Director of the Research Center in which the research was conducted.
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.