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

Erbes CR, Kaler ME, Schult T, Polusny MA, Arbisi PA. Mental health diagnosis and occupational functioning in National Guard/Reserve veterans returning from Iraq. Journal of rehabilitation research and development. 2012 May 18; 48(10):1159-70.

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Abstract:

Occupational functioning represents both an important outcome for military service members 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 service members 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 service members 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. Service members 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 service members 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, service members with a diagnosis of PTSD reported greater rates of deterioration in work role functioning over time.





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