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Veteran status and alcohol use in men in the United States.
Bohnert AS, Ilgen MA, Bossarte RM, Britton PC, Chermack ST, Blow FC. Veteran status and alcohol use in men in the United States. Military medicine. 2012 Feb 1; 177(2):198-203.
This study sought to compare patterns of alcohol use between male veterans and nonveterans.
Data came from the 2004 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a U.S. national telephone survey using stratified random sampling. Outcomes were 30-day alcohol use, binge drinking (5+ drinks on one occasion), and heavy drinking (2+ drinks per day). Age-stratified weighted regression analyses compared men who were veterans (n = 36,874) to those who were not (n = 77,056), and veterans who used Veterans Health Administration (VHA) services in the past year (n = 7,606) to veterans who did not, adjusting for potential confounders.
Veterans aged 41 to 60 were less likely to binge drink (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.8) and veterans aged 61 to 70 were more likely to drink heavily compared to same-age men without military experience (AOR = 1.7). There were no significant differences in binge or heavy drinking for other age groups. Among veterans aged 51 to 60, those who used VHA services were more likely to report binge drinking than those who did not (AOR = 1.4).
Male veterans generally have similar patterns of alcohol use as men without a history of military service, but the elevated alcohol use of specific groups of veterans merits concern.