Alcohol issues prior to training in the United States Air Force

Karen Derefinko, Robert Klesges, Zoran Bursac, Melissa Little, Ann Hryshko-Mullen, Gerald Talcott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The negative impact of alcohol is a significant concern to the US military given the costs associated with alcohol-related offenses. Despite considerable research in active duty personnel, relatively little is known about the current extent of alcohol use among incoming recruits. We examined the history of alcohol use and harmful patterns of alcohol consumption among recruits entering the United States Air Force (USAF; N = 50,549) over the span of 4 years (2010-2014). Across all years, drinking rates reflected national average trends for those aged 18-24 (NIDA, 2014). However, when abstainers were excluded, those under 21 (n = 10,568) reported an average of 18.4 drinks per week, whereas those age 21 and over (n = 14,188) reported an average of 14.1 drinks per week, suggesting that for those who drink, those under 21 are exhibiting more risky drinking rates. Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Task (AUDIT) scores for drinkers reflected these same trends. For those under 21, 58% scored in risk categories of 2 or higher (risky drinking warranting attention), compared with 40% for those age 21 and over. These scores indicate that for recruits in the USAF, approximately half report alcohol use immediately prior to basic training, resulting in the inheritance of these potential alcohol related issues for those conducting training of these recruits. Based upon these numbers, brief alcohol interventions could have a potential positive impact on individuals in their initial training stages of the USAF to prevent these baseline issues from resulting in problems later in their military careers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-148
Number of pages7
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume58
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

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Air
Alcohols
Drinking
Alcohol Drinking
History
Costs and Cost Analysis
Personnel
Research
Costs

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Alcohol issues prior to training in the United States Air Force. / Derefinko, Karen; Klesges, Robert; Bursac, Zoran; Little, Melissa; Hryshko-Mullen, Ann; Talcott, Gerald.

In: Addictive Behaviors, Vol. 58, 01.07.2016, p. 142-148.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Derefinko, Karen ; Klesges, Robert ; Bursac, Zoran ; Little, Melissa ; Hryshko-Mullen, Ann ; Talcott, Gerald. / Alcohol issues prior to training in the United States Air Force. In: Addictive Behaviors. 2016 ; Vol. 58. pp. 142-148.
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