Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 48 Number 10, 2011
   Pages 1159 — 1170

Abstract — Mental health diagnosis and occupational functioning in National Guard/Reserve veterans returning from Iraq

Christopher R. Erbes, PhD;1???2* Matthew E. Kaler, PhD;1 Tamara Schult, MPH;1,3 Melissa A. Polusny, PhD;1???2,4 Paul A. Arbisi, PhD1???2,5

1Minneapolis Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System, Minneapolis, MN; 2Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN; 3Departments of Environmental Health Sciences and Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, MN; 4Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research, Minneapolis VA Health Care System, Minneapolis, MN; 5Department of ??Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Abstract???Occupational functioning represents both an important outcome for military servicemembers returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom and a predictor for long-term mental health functioning. We investigated the role of mental health diagnoses, determined by structured clinical interviews, on occupational functioning in a group of 262 National Guard/Reserve servicemembers within 1 year of returning from a 16-month OIF combat deployment. We assessed occupational functioning at the time of diagnostic interviews and 1 year later. We hypothesized that servicemembers with diagnoses of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and/or alcohol abuse or dependence would exhibit lower rates of employment at both time points and lower rates of reported work and/or school role functioning. Servicemembers with a diagnosis of PTSD (5%, n = 13), subthreshold PTSD (6%, n = 15), a major depressive disorder (11%, n = 29), or alcohol abuse or dependence (11%, n = 28) did not differ on employment status from servicemembers without a diagnosis at either time point. However, those with a diagnosis of PTSD, depression, and/or alcohol abuse or dependence reported lower levels of work role functioning. In addition, servicemembers with a diagnosis of PTSD reported greater rates of deterioration in work role functioning over time.
Key words: alcohol abuse or dependence, combat deployment, comorbidity, depression, employment, mental health, National Guard, occupational functioning, posttraumatic stress disorder, work role functioning.

View HTML  ¦  View PDF  ¦  Contents Vol. 48, No. 10

This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Erbes CR, Kaler ME, Schult T, Polusny MA, Arbisi PA. Mental health diagnosis and occupational functioning in National Guard/Reserve veterans returning from Iraq. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2011;48(10):1159???70.
DOI:10.1682/JRRD.2010.11.0212
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