skip to page content
Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Services Research & Development

Go to the ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Risk factors for relapse to problem drinking among current and former US military personnel: a prospective study of the Millennium Cohort.

Williams EC, Frasco MA, Jacobson IG, Maynard C, Littman AJ, Seelig AD, Crum-Cianflone NF, Nagel A, Boyko EJ. Risk factors for relapse to problem drinking among current and former US military personnel: a prospective study of the Millennium Cohort. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2015 Mar 1; 148:93-101.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


BACKGROUND: Military service members may be prone to relapse to problem drinking after remission, given a culture of alcohol use as a coping mechanism for stressful or traumatic events associated with military duties or exposures. However, the prevalence and correlates of relapse are unknown. We sought to identify socio-demographic, military, behavioral, and health characteristics associated with relapse among current and former military members with remittent problem drinking. METHODS: Participants in the longitudinal Millennium Cohort Study who reported problem drinking at baseline (2001-2003) and were remittent at first follow-up (2004-2006) were included (n = 6909). Logistic regression models identified demographic, military service, behavioral, and health characteristics that predicted relapse (report of = 1 past-year alcohol-related problem on the validated Patient Health Questionnaire) at the second follow-up (2007-2008). RESULTS: Sixteen percent of those with remittent problem drinking relapsed. Reserve/National Guard members compared with active-duty members (odds ratio [OR] = 1.71, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.45-2.01), members separated from the military during follow-up (OR = 1.46, 95% CI: 1.16-1.83), and deployers who reported combat exposure (OR = 1.32, 95% CI: 1.07-1.62, relative to non-deployers) were significantly more likely to relapse. Those with multiple deployments were significantly less likely to relapse (OR = 0.73, 95% CI: 0.58-0.92). Behavioral factors and mental health conditions also predicted relapse. CONCLUSION: Relapse was common and associated with military and non-military factors. Targeted intervention to prevent relapse may be indicated for military personnel in particular subgroups, such as Reservists, veterans, and those who deploy with combat exposure.

Questions about the HSR&D website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.