Volume 50 Number 1, 2013
Pages 7 — 16
Abstract — The purpose of this study was to describe career performance outcomes after combat blast injury and to examine the relationship between the injury severity and type of military discharge. A retrospective cohort study of 4,255 male servicemembers injured in a combat blast as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom was completed. In the total sample, 37.8% experienced a normal discharge and 8.3% had an early discharge. Of the 2,229 members who had a discharge code, 29.8% experienced a disability discharge. Both early attrition and disability discharge proportions were higher in those with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than in those without PTSD. There was a significant interaction between PTSD and injury severity in the discharge disability outcome. In those without PTSD, there was a dose-response relationship between injury severity and disability discharge. In those with PTSD, injury severity predicted disability discharge. The relationship between injury severity and disability discharge was less striking in servicemembers with PTSD than without PTSD. The effect of PTSD and injury severity on career performance outcomes after blast injuries should be factored into outcome planning.
Key words: blast injury, career performance outcomes, combat blast, functional outcomes, injury severity, mental health, military discharge, Operation Iraqi Freedom, polytrauma, posttraumatic stress disorder.
Last Reviewed or Updated Monday, March 11, 2013 2:12 PM