Academic journal article European Journal of Psychotraumatology

The Australian Defence Force Mental Health Prevalence and Wellbeing Study: Design and Methods

Academic journal article European Journal of Psychotraumatology

The Australian Defence Force Mental Health Prevalence and Wellbeing Study: Design and Methods

Article excerpt

PTSD IN THE MILITARY: PREVALENCE, PATHOPHYSIOLOGY, TREATMENT

The Australian Defence Force Mental Health Prevalence and Wellbeing Study: design and methods

Miranda Van Hooff1*, Alexander C. McFarlane1, Christopher E. Davies2, Amelia K. Searle1, A. Kate Fairweather-Schmidt3, Alan Verhagen4, Helen Benassi4 and Stephanie E. Hodson5

1Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, The University of Adelaide, South Australia; 2Data Management and Analysis Centre, Discipline of Public Health, The University of Adelaide, South Australia; 3School of Psychology, Flinders University, South Australia; 4Mental Health, Psychology and Rehabilitation Branch, Joint Health Command, Department of Defence, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia; 5Department of Veterans' Affairs, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Abstract

Background : The Australian Defence Force (ADF) Mental Health Prevalence and Wellbeing Study (MHPWS) is the first study of mental disorder prevalence in an entire military population.

Objective : The MHPWS aims to establish mental disorder prevalence, refine current ADF mental health screening methods, and identify specific occupational factors that influence mental health. This paper describes the design, sampling strategies, and methodology used in this study.

Method : At Phase 1, approximately half of all regular Navy, Army, and Air Force personnel (n =24,481) completed self-report questionnaires. At Phase 2, a stratified sub-sample (n =1,798) completed a structured diagnostic interview to detect mental disorder. Based on data from non-responders, data were weighted to represent the entire ADF population (n =50,049).

Results : One in five ADF members met criteria for a 12-month mental disorder (22%). The most common disorder category was anxiety disorders (14.8%), followed by affective (9.5%) and alcohol disorders (5.2%). At risk ADF sub-groups were Army personnel, and those in the lower ranks. Deployment status did not have an impact on mental disorder rates.

Conclusion : This study has important implications for mental health service delivery for Australian and international military personnel as well as contemporary veterans.

Keywords: Prevalence; military; mental disorder; affective; anxiety; alcohol

Responsible Editor: Rachel Yehuda, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, United States; J.J. Peters, VAMC, United States.

*Correspondence to: Miranda Van Hooff, Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, School of Population Health, The University of Adelaide, Level 2/122 Frome St, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia, Email: miranda.vanhooff@adelaide.edu.au

For the abstract or full text in other languages, please see Supplementary files under Article Tools online

This paper is part of the Special Issue: PTSD in the military: prevalence, pathophysiology, treatment . More papers from this issue can be found at http://www.eurojnlofpsychotraumatol.net

Received: 29 January 2014; Revised: 23 April 2014; Accepted: 21 May 2014; Published: 14 August 2014

European Journal of Psychotraumatology 2014. © 2014 Miranda Van Hooff et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, for any purpose, even commercially, under the condition that appropriate credit is given, that a link to the license is provided, and that you indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

Citation: European Journal of Psychotraumatology 2014, 5 : 23950 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/ejpt.v5.23950

Military service is an occupation where personnel are selected and trained to face stressful and potentially traumatising situations. …

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