Conjoint Needs Assessment Study:
Our team collected over 1400 surveys from National Guard Soldiers and their significant others at Reintegration Weekends, held 45-90 days following the Soldiers’ return from overseas deployments. Surveys asked approximately 900 soldiers about their current levels of well-being, deployment experiences, mental health symptoms, substance use, physical and mental health related functioning, parenting and work functioning, treatment use, and other issues. Significant others were also asked about well-being, treatment use, and functioning.
Several papers have been published from this effort, including papers on: 1) the development of the Academic–National Guard service and research partnership, 2) the development of the peer outreach program, Buddy-to-Buddy, 3) alcohol use and treatment among returning Soldiers, and 4) employment among returning service members. Two additional papers on PTSD, depression, alcohol use, and family and marital functioning are under review.
Dalack GW, Blow A, Valenstein M, Gorman L, Spinner J, Marcus S, Kees M, McDonough S, Greden JF, Ames B, BG Francisco B, BG Anderson J, COL Bartolacci B, MAJ Lagrou R. Working Together to Meet the Needs of Army National Guard Soldiers: An Academic-Military Partnership. Psychiatric Services 2010;61:1069–1071.
Greden JF, Valenstein M, Spinner J, Blow A, Gorman LA, Dalack GW, Marcus S, Kees, M. Buddy-to-Buddy, a Citizen Soldier Peer Support Program to Counteract Stigma, PTSD, Depression, and Suicide. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences;2010;1208: 90–97
Burnett-Zeigler I, Ilgen M, Valenstein M, Zivin K, Gorman L, Blow A, Duffy S. Chermack S. Prevalence and Correlates of Alcohol Misuse Among Returning Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans. Addictive Behaviors. epub 2011; S0306-4603(11)00007-4 [pii] 10.1016/j.addbeh.2010.12.032
Burnett-Zeigler I, Valenstein M, Ilgen M, Blow A, Gorman LA, Zivin K. Civilian Employment Among Recently Returning Afghanistan and Iraq National Guard Veterans. Military Medicine 2011;176: 639-646
Pfeiffer PN, Blow AJ, Miller E, Dalack GW, Valenstein M. Peers and Peer-Based Interventions in Supporting Reintegration and Mental Health Among National Guard Soldiers: A Qualitative Study. Military Medicine 2012; 177(12): 1471-1476
Blow AJ, Ganoczy D, Kees M, Kashy D, Valenstein M, Gorman L, Marcus SM, Fitzgerald HE, Chermack SF. Hazardous Drinking and Family Functioning in National Guard Veterans and Spouses Postdeployment. Journal of Family Psychology 2013; 27(2): 303-313. doi: 10.1037/a0031881.
Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development Funded Study:
Study team members have also been funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Services Development and Research Service to conduct an evaluation of the BuddytoBuddy program and other outreach programs in the Michigan Army National Guard. This study will field surveys to over 2,000 National Guard Soldiers at 6 and 12 months after they return from deployments and will assess program implementation, factors associated with adoption of the program, and the outcomes of Soldiers in contact with the program. This project will be ongoing through 2013. Study results are expected to inform modifications in this peer outreach program and to inform dissemination efforts in other State National Guard Organizations.