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Differences in Drinking Patterns, Occupational Stress, and Exposure to Potentially Traumatic Events among Firefighters: Predictors of Smoking Relapse

Authors

  • Joseph W. VanderVeen PhD,

    1. VISN 17 Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans, Waco, Texas
    2. Texas A&M Health Science Center, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science, Temple, Texas
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  • Suzy B. Gulliver PhD,

    1. VISN 17 Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans, Waco, Texas
    2. Texas A&M Health Science Center, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science, Temple, Texas
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  • Sandra B. Morissette PhD,

    1. VISN 17 Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans, Waco, Texas
    2. Texas A&M Health Science Center, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science, Temple, Texas
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  • Marc I. Kruse PhD,

    1. VISN 17 Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans, Waco, Texas
    2. Texas A&M Health Science Center, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science, Temple, Texas
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  • Barbara W. Kamholz PhD,

    1. VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Rose T. Zimering PhD,

    1. VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Boston, Massachusetts
    3. National Center for PTSD, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Jeffrey Knight PhD,

    1. VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Boston, Massachusetts
    3. National Center for PTSD, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Terence M. Keane PhD

    1. VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Boston, Massachusetts
    3. National Center for PTSD, Boston, Massachusetts
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Dr. VanderVeen, G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VAMC, Psychology/Mental Health (116A2), 1500 E. Woodrow Wilson, Jackson, MS 39216. E-mail: Joseph.VanderVeen2@va.gov.

Abstract

Background and Objectives: Despite the increased awareness regarding the risks of cigarette smoking, this behavior continues to be a serious public health concern. As such, the goal of the current study was to examine risk factors for smoking relapse among individuals employed through fire service.

Methods: In this report, drinking changes, trauma exposure, and occupational stress were compared among firefighters (N = 81) who reported a relapse to cigarette smoking (n = 27), a lifetime former history of smoking (n = 27), or no history of smoking (n = 27). Mechanisms behind tobacco relapse occurring after employment in fire service were explored.

Results: Firefighters who relapsed to smoking, when compared to their nonsmoking peers, had higher rates of weekly alcohol consumption throughout their first year of fire service and had greater increases in drinking from preacademy to postacademy.

Conclusions and Scientific Significance: Gaining a better understanding of these behaviors within this understudied and high-risk population may provide valuable information that can be used in designing future relapse prevention strategies as well as smoking cessation interventions. (Am J Addict 2012;21:550–554)

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