Deployment related risk of incident mental health conditions among aeromedical evacuation crewmembers
Howland, Jennifer P.
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Post-deployment mental health (PDMH) diagnoses have increased in the military community since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. To date, only one study has focused on the United States Air Force (USAF) medical community. In 2014, the USAF Surgeon General requested additional research on the entire USAF medical community to explore the assumption that continuous exposure to combat wounds increases the medical community’s risk of having certain mental health conditions. In support of the 711th Human Performance Wing, this study aims to analyze the PDMH of the Aeromedical Evacuation (AE) community. This study found that (1) the AE population had a lower diagnosis rate than the non-AE population, (2) lower experience levels did not contribute to an increased diagnosis rate, (3) the diagnosis rate was not dependent on number of deployments completed, (4) the diagnosis rate for both female and male AE crewmembers was essentially the same, (5) of participants with a pre-existing condition, only 10% more sought medical attention for more mental health conditions post-deployment than they did pre-deployment, and (6) participants diagnosed with a PDMH condition had a higher Holmes-Rahe Life Stress score than their undiagnosed counterparts.
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