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Leadership Styles Experienced During Military Service Predict Later Anhedonic Depressive Symptoms and Self-Efficacy in Veterans With Alcohol Use Disorder.

Durazzo TC, Humphreys K, LaRocca MA. Leadership Styles Experienced During Military Service Predict Later Anhedonic Depressive Symptoms and Self-Efficacy in Veterans With Alcohol Use Disorder. Military medicine. 2023 Oct 28.

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INTRODUCTION: Lifetime and past-year alcohol use disorder (AUD) prevalence is significantly higher in US Armed Services Veterans than in non-veterans across adulthood. This study examined the associations of perceived transformational leadership styles (TLS) experienced during military service and anhedonic depression and self-efficacy related to confidence to abstain or reduce alcohol consumption in Veterans seeking treatment for AUD. The ramifications of perceived leadership styles on multiple aspects of follower psychiatric functioning, including depressive and PTSD symptomatology, during and after military service, may be substantial and enduring. Higher anhedonic depression and lower abstinence self-efficacy are related to increased risk of relapse after treatment. We predicted Veterans, in treatment for AUD, who reported higher perceived levels of transformational leadership during military service, demonstrate lower anhedonic depressive symptoms and higher alcohol abstinence self-efficacy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Veterans with AUD (n? = 60; 50?±?14?years of age) were recruited from residential treatment at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. All procedures were approved by the VA Palo Alto Health Care System and Stanford University institutional review boards. A series of mediation analyses were completed with The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire measures of TLS (average across leadership measures [transformational leadership average; TLS average]) as predictor and the Alcohol Abstinence Self-Efficacy Scale, Mood and Anxiety Symptom Questionnaire, anhedonic depression subscale, as dependent measures. PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 score was tested as a mediator variable. RESULTS: Higher reported perceived TLS average during military service was significantly related to lower anhedonic depressive symptoms. Higher TLS average was related to higher self-efficacy to resist alcohol use in contexts involving experience of physical issues and withdrawal/cravings and urges. These relationships were not mediated by PTSD symptomatology or duration of military service, age, education, time since military service, military branch, combat exposure, or current psychiatric diagnosis. CONCLUSIONS: The significant associations of perceived TLS during military service with anhedonic depression and alcohol use self-efficacy are clinically relevant because these measures are associated with relapse risk after AUD treatment. Further study of the implications of perceived TLS during military service for AUD and other substance use disorder treatment outcome is warranted in Veterans.

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