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Effect of transition home from combat on risk-taking and health-related behaviors


  • We thank Shawn Abrahamson, Matthew Baker, Oscar Cabrera, Deena Carr, Wanda Cook, Dave Cotting, Anthony Cox, Rachel Eckford, Nickolas Hamilton, Nadia Kendall-Diaz, Paul Kim, Robert Klocko, Megan Legenos, Matthew McGinnis, Steven Messer, Charles Milliken, Christina O'Neill, Angela Salvi, Kyle Schaul, Nicol Sinclair, Steven Terry, Jeffrey Thomas, Allison Whitt, Lloyd Shanklin, Lisa Williams, and Kathleen Wright for their work on the studies. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of the U.S. Army Medical Command or the Department of Defense.


Transition home following a combat deployment involves a period of adjustment. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses of a new 16-item transition scale were conducted with 2 samples and resulted in 4 factors (Benefit, Appreciation, Anger/Alienation, and Guilt/Remorse). In Study 1 (N = 1,651), the number of combat events was positively related to Anger/Alienation 4 months later even after controlling for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, partial r = .18, p < .001. In Study 2 (N = 647), after controlling for PTSD symptoms, Anger/Alienation assessed at 4 months postdeployment predicted more risk-taking behaviors 4 months later, partial r = .10, p = .01. Appreciation predicted fewer unhealthy habits, partial r = −.13, p = .001, whereas Anger/Alienation predicted more unhealthy habits, partial r = .09, p = .024. Results demonstrate the importance of broadening the conceptualization of adjustment in combat veterans.

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