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Behavioral health and sleep problems among US Army veterinarians and veterinary technicians participating in the Millennium Cohort Study

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  • 1 Deployment Health Research Department, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA 92106.
  • | 2 Leidos Inc, Reston, VA 20190.
  • | 3 Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
  • | 4 Naval Medical Research Unit, Dayton, OH 45433.
  • | 5 Medical Research and Materiel Command, Fort Detrick, MD 21702.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine the prevalences and relative odds of mental health problems, suicidal ideation, psychotropic medication use, problem drinking, trouble sleeping, and lack of social support among veterinarians and veterinary technicians, compared with other medical professionals, in the US Army.

SAMPLE

7,744 US Army personnel (957 officers [101 veterinarians and 856 physicians and dentists] and 6,787 enlisted personnel [334 veterinary technicians and 6,453 medics]) participating in the Millennium Cohort Study.

PROCEDURES

Eligible participants completed ≥ 1 survey while serving as an Army veterinarian, veterinary technician, physician, general dentist, or medic. Analysis methods including multivariable logistic regression adjusted for covariates and stratified by pay grade were used to investigate associations between each health-care occupation and outcomes of interest.

RESULTS

Veterinarians had higher reported prevalences of mental health problems, trouble sleeping, and lack of social support than did nontrauma physicians, trauma physicians, or dentists. On multivariable analysis, veterinarians had higher odds of mental health problems, trouble sleeping, and lack of social support, compared with physicians and dentists combined; odds for these outcomes were also higher for veterinarians, compared with various individual reference groups. Veterinary technicians had lower reported prevalence and lower odds of psychotropic medication use, compared with medics.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Further examination of Army policies and organizational structures related to veterinarians may be warranted, along with the development of policies and interventions designed to improve mental health, sleep quality, and social support among military veterinarians.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine the prevalences and relative odds of mental health problems, suicidal ideation, psychotropic medication use, problem drinking, trouble sleeping, and lack of social support among veterinarians and veterinary technicians, compared with other medical professionals, in the US Army.

SAMPLE

7,744 US Army personnel (957 officers [101 veterinarians and 856 physicians and dentists] and 6,787 enlisted personnel [334 veterinary technicians and 6,453 medics]) participating in the Millennium Cohort Study.

PROCEDURES

Eligible participants completed ≥ 1 survey while serving as an Army veterinarian, veterinary technician, physician, general dentist, or medic. Analysis methods including multivariable logistic regression adjusted for covariates and stratified by pay grade were used to investigate associations between each health-care occupation and outcomes of interest.

RESULTS

Veterinarians had higher reported prevalences of mental health problems, trouble sleeping, and lack of social support than did nontrauma physicians, trauma physicians, or dentists. On multivariable analysis, veterinarians had higher odds of mental health problems, trouble sleeping, and lack of social support, compared with physicians and dentists combined; odds for these outcomes were also higher for veterinarians, compared with various individual reference groups. Veterinary technicians had lower reported prevalence and lower odds of psychotropic medication use, compared with medics.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Further examination of Army policies and organizational structures related to veterinarians may be warranted, along with the development of policies and interventions designed to improve mental health, sleep quality, and social support among military veterinarians.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Figure S1 (PDF 175 KB)
    • Supplementary Figure S2 (PDF 560 KB)
    • Supplementary Appendix S1 (PDF 146 KB)

Contributor Notes

Dr. Whitmer's affiliation changed during the study and is presently US Army Medical Command, Defense Health Headquarters, Falls Church, VA 22042.

Address correspondence to Ms. LeardMann (cynthia.a.leardmann.ctr@mail.mil).