Online education

Study shows education and peer support cut binge drinking by National Guard personnel in half


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A new study shows that long-term reductions in hazardous drinking among Army National Guard personnel may improve their health and readiness for service.

A new study by a team from the University of Michigan, published in the journal, found that the number of days each month that guard members said they ate and drank up to half. Addiction.

The decline was with guard members who had multiple brief online educational sessions designed for members of the military and veteran companions who had their first online educational session followed by conversation training every few months. Occurred over the course of a year among guard members who made support calls. Regarding the use of alcohol.

In addition to reducing binge drinking, the study showed that both approaches scored lower on scales that measure risky drinking habits. Those who received peer calls during the year also had lower scores measuring alcohol-related life effects. By the end of the year, none of the measures had reduced those who were randomly assigned to receive no assistance other than pamphlets.

“This is the first study of its kind to demonstrate the efficacy of a relatively inexpensive electronic health intervention against hazardous alcohol use in our Army Reserve component,” said lead author of the study, University of Michigan. Director of the Addiction Center. “Hazardous drinking threatens the health and preparedness of those who serve, so I hope this approach will help other National Guard units and beyond.”

Focus on those most at risk

A randomized controlled trial, called Mission Strong, grew out of previous research that showed the power of coordinated education and peer support in reducing hazardous drinking among veterans undergoing treatment at VA medical centers. I was.

The UM team also conducted an earlier study, which found that about a third of the Michigan Army National Guard deployed as part of their military service showed signs of dangerous drinking. members of the military have been shown to have higher rates of dangerous drinking than active-duty members of other deployed armed forces.

The Mission Strong study involved members of the Michigan State Guard’s 41st Division, surveyed for alcohol use during monthly training weekends. Of her 2,746 screened, 832 (30%) scored high enough to be considered to have dangerous alcohol use.

“We thank the Michigan Army National Guard for their cooperation and continued involvement in working to improve the health and preparedness of our members, and for allowing us to conduct research that can help many other National Guard units across the country. We thank Dr. Lara Coughlin, senior author, addiction psychologist, UM addiction psychologist, member of the Addiction Center, and sees patients at UM Addiction Treatment Services. There is

The mean age of the 739 Guardsmen who agreed to be randomly assigned to one of three groups was 28 years, and 16% were female. Most were white and non-Hispanic, but 12% were Hispanic and 10% were black. Cannabis is against National Guard policy, and just over 10% used cannabis, even though it was not generally legal in Michigan at the time of the study.

In mental health surveys, 10% reported having had suicidal thoughts, 19% had moderate to severe depression, and nearly 5% scored high enough to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder. had a

This study examines their performance as citizen soldiers who live in the community, work or study most of the time but are regularly trained and called up for state and national service. The focus was on members of the National Guard due to the unique nature of the service.

Of those surveyed, 84% were employed full-time or part-time, and 49% had been deployed as part of security services. Just over half were of the rank of non-commissioned officer or corporal, and most of the rest were of higher rank. 60% are civil servants.

By the end of the year, 550 of them had completed all three follow-up surveys. Among them were 142 of him who participated in his three calls from colleagues, 120 of him who completed his three follow-up web-based sessions, and the rest during training weekends. I just received the brochure and completed 3 follow-up surveys. All received a small amount of money for their participation to compensate for their time.

Binge drinking was defined as 6 or more drinks per meal for men and 4 or more drinks for women. Their overall dangerous alcohol use levels were measured using the AUDIT scale, and the impact of their drinking habits on their lives (from relationships and finances to risk-taking and accidents) was measured using his SIP survey. I was.

research result

At the start of the study, participants reported binge drinking four to five days per month. Ultimately, the average number of days for the peer support group went from 5.2 days to 2.6 days, and the average number of days for the online education-only group went from his 4.2 days to 2.8 days. A third group of people was still a heavy drinker 4 days a month by the end of the study period.

On the AUDIT scale for hazardous drinking, those receiving peer calls decreased by an average of 3.6 points per year, while those receiving online-only contact decreased by almost 3 points. Pamphlets and post-survey only respondents dropped him by 2 points. At the start of the study, all three groups had average scores above 9, indicating dangerous drinking. Ultimately, the average scores for his two groups with adjusted online education fell below the dangerous threshold, while the group without online education was still at dangerous levels.

On the SIP scale of the impact of alcohol on an individual’s life, only those who received peer calls showed significant changes from the start of the study to the end of the study.

In addition to Coughlin, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, and Blow, Professor of Psychiatry at UM School of Medicine, the authors of the study are Dr. Maureen Walton, Dr. Mark Ilgen, and Kristen. Dr. Barry of Addiction Center and Psychiatry; Heather Walters of VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. Lynn Massey of UM Injury Prevention Center. Rosalinda Ignacio, statistician at UM School of Public Health. Dr. Richard McCormick of Case Western Reserve University.

For more information:
Frederic C. Blow et al., Peer- and web-basedventions for risky drinking between US National Guard members: Mission Strong Randomized Controlled Trial, Addiction (2023). DOI: 10.1111/add.16172

Details of the Mission Strong study are available from the listing (NCT02181283).

Courtesy of University of Michigan

Quote: Education and Peer Support Halves Binge Eating by National Guard Members, Investigative Show (April 12, 2023) to April 20, 2023 -binge-drinking-national-members.html

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