Trajectories of alcohol consumption in U.S. military veterans: Results from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study

Brian S. Fuehrlein, Lorig K. Kachadourian, Elizabeth K. DeVylder, Louis A. Trevisan, Marc N. Potenza, John H. Krystal, Steven M. Southwick, Robert H. Pietrzak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and Objectives: While alcohol use disorder is prevalent in U.S. veterans, little is known about the nature and determinants of predominant trajectories of alcohol consumption in this population. The objective of the current study was to identify predominant trajectories of alcohol consumption over a 4-year period, and baseline determinants of these trajectories in veterans. Methods: Data were analyzed from the National Health and Resilience in Veteran Study, which surveyed a nationally representative sample of 3,157 veterans (Wave 1). Assessments (Waves 2 and 3) were conducted every 2 years thereafter. Alcohol consumption was assessed using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption, a brief alcohol screen for identifying problematic drinking based on alcohol consumption. Wave 1 sociodemographic, military, health, and psychosocial variables were examined as possible determinants of trajectories of alcohol consumption. Results: Latent growth mixture modeling revealed that a four-class model best fit the data: rare drinkers (65.3%), moderate drinkers (30.2%), excessive drinkers (2.6%), and recovering drinkers (1.9%). Lifetime major depressive disorder (MDD) was linked to an excessive drinking trajectory, while fewer medical conditions and lower social support were linked to a moderate drinking trajectory. Having a secure attachment style and greater social support, and absence of lifetime MDD was linked to recovery from excessive drinking. Conclusions and Scientific Significance: Four predominant trajectories of alcohol consumption were identified. Targeting MDD and related interpersonal factors such as attachment style and social support in population-based prevention and treatment initiatives may help prevent, mitigate, and promote recovery from excessive alcohol consumption in veterans. (Am J Addict 2018;27:383–390).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-390
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal on Addictions
Volume27
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes

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