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Aggressive and violent behavior among military personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan: prevalence and link with deployment and combat exposure



Aggressive and violent behavior among military personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan: prevalence and link with deployment and combat exposure



Epidemiologic Reviews 37: 196-212



A systematic review and meta-analyses were conducted on studies of the prevalence of aggressive and violent behavior, as well as of violent offenses and convictions, among military personnel following deployment to Iraq and/or Afghanistan; the relationship with deployment and combat exposure; and the role that mental health problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), have on the pathway between deployment and combat to violence. Seventeen studies published between January 1, 2001, and February 12, 2014, in the United States and the United Kingdom met the inclusion criteria. Despite methodological differences across studies, aggressive behavior was found to be prevalent among serving and formerly serving personnel, with pooled estimates of 10% (95% confidence interval (CI): 1, 20) for physical assault and 29% (95% CI: 25, 36) for all types of physical aggression in the last month, and worthy of further exploration. In both countries, rates were increased among combat-exposed, formerly serving personnel. The majority of studies suggested a small-to-moderate association between combat exposure and postdeployment physical aggression and violence, with a pooled estimate of the weighted odds ratio = 3.24 (95% CI: 2.75, 3.82), with several studies finding that violence increased with intensity and frequency of exposure to combat traumas. The review's findings support the mediating role of PTSD between combat and postdeployment violence and the importance of alcohol, especially if comorbid with PTSD.

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Accession: 057154141

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 25613552

DOI: 10.1093/epirev/mxu006


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