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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Finds Alcohol Use Drives Up Depression among Military Service Members

Alcohol use disorder exacerbates depression and post-traumatic stress symptoms in military service members who have been deployed in recent conflicts, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

The study in the Journal of Traumatic Stress followed more than 1,000 National Guard service members for four years after deployment to gauge risk factors for depression and post-traumatic stress (PTS) outcomes, and the effect of alcohol abuse on symptoms over time.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD), defined as past-year alcohol abuse or dependence, was associated with an increase in both depression and PTS symptoms, with the largest effect seen on the higher-symptom groups.

“These findings that AUD exacerbated both depression and PTS symptom trajectories build on previous literature that co-morbidity can substantially, adversely affect outcomes in already vulnerable populations,” the researchers said. Understanding the role of alcohol use, they added, “is key in understanding longer-term psychopathology, as it modifies trajectories of depression and PTS.”

To read more about the study, go to: