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Behavioral and Health Outcomes Associated With Deployment and Nondeployment Acquisition of Traumatic Brain Injury in Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans

      Abstract

      Objective

      To characterize behavioral and health outcomes in veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) acquired in nondeployment and deployment settings.

      Design

      Cross-sectional assessment evaluating TBI acquired during and outside of deployment, mental and behavioral health symptoms, and diagnoses.

      Setting

      Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.

      Participants

      Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who were deployed to a warzone (N=1399).

      Interventions

      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Comprehensive lifetime TBI interview, Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Disorders, Combat Exposure Scale, and behavioral and health measures.

      Results

      There was a main effect of deployment TBI on depressive symptoms, posttraumatic stress symptoms, poor sleep quality, substance use, and pain. Veterans with deployment TBI were also more likely to have a diagnosis of bipolar, major depressive, alcohol use, and posttraumatic stress disorders than those who did not have a deployment TBI.

      Conclusions

      TBIs acquired during deployment are associated with different behavioral and health outcomes than TBI acquired in nondeployment environments. The presence of TBI during deployment is associated with poorer behavioral outcomes, as well as a greater lifetime prevalence of behavioral and health problems in contrast to veterans without deployment TBI. These results indicate that problems may persist chronically after a deployment TBI and should be considered when providing care for veterans. Veterans with deployment TBI may require treatment alterations to improve engagement and outcomes.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      ANCOVA (analysis of covariance), CI (confidence interval), MANCOVA (multivariate analysis of covariance), MA-MIRECC (Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center), PDMH (Post-Deployment Mental Health), PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), SCID (Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Disorders), TBI (traumatic brain injury)
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