Veterans and the Military

This webpage identifies the major literature in the field of veterans and the military. The time frame is from January 2000 through December 2014.

Back, S. E., Killeen, T. K., Teer, A. P., Hartwell, E. E., Federline, A., Beylotte, F., & Cox, E. (2014). Substance use disorders and PTSD: An exploratory study of treatment preferences among military veterans. Addictive Behaviors, 39(2), pp. 369-373.

This study looked at Veterans' perceptions of the interrelationship between SUDs and PTSD, as well as treatment preferences. Based on the study findings, approximately 66% of Veterans preferred an integrated treatment approach. Although preliminary, the findings provide clinically-relevant information that can be used to enhance the development and provision of care for Veterans with SUDs and PTSD.

Bucher, J. (2012). Soldiering with substance: substance and steroid use among military personnel. Journal of Drug Education. 42(3), pp. 267-292.

This study looks at qualitative data, examining substance use among a military sample to provide nature of substance use and provide possible explanations. The study shows that many of the participants used substances to deal with stress and cope with strain, as well as to deal with negative combat experiences and with pressures related to masculinity. Important findings include marijuana use (36% of sample) and steroid use (32% of sample).

Creech, S. K., & Bursary, B. (2014). Alcohol use, military sexual trauma, expectancies, and coping skills in women veterans presenting to primary care. Addictive Behaviors, 39(2), pp. 379-385.

This study seeks to describe and explore the associations between posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, experience of military sexual trauma (MST), expectancies for alcohol use, and coping skills in predicting drinking behavior. The authors argue that the experience of MST tended to be associated with alcohol use. Findings highlight the importance of considering of the function of alcohol use when delivering clinical interventions and the need for further research on the association between MST and drinking in women veterans.

Cucciare, M. A., Simpson, T., Hoggatt, K. J., Gifford, E., & Timko, C. (2014). Substance use among women veterans: epidemiology to evidence-based treatment. Journal of Addictive Diseases. 32(2), pp. 119-139. DOI: 10.1080/10550887.2013.795465

In this article, the authors review the substance misuse rates and comorbidities and the risk factors for and consequences of substance use among women Veterans. According to their findings, women Veterans may have higher rates of substance misuse and comorbid psychiatric and medical disorders than male Veterans and women who are not Veterans. Studies support the AUDIT-C as a scaled marker of alcohol-related risk among female Veterans, but validated drug screening instruments are needed. The authors discuss evidence-based approaches in terms of treating women Veterans’ substance misuse in primary and specialty care settings, along with knowledge gaps and potential research priorities to improve care in this special population.

Harris, S. H. A., Kivlahan, D., Barnett, G. P., & Finney, W. J. (2012). Longer length of stay is not associated with better outcomes in VHA’s substance abuse residential rehabilitation treatment programs. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 39(1), pp. 68-79

In this article the authors examined if longer stays in Veterans Health Administration (VHA) substance abuse residential rehabilitation treatment programs (SARRTPs) where associated with better substance-related outcomes. According to their findings, patients in programs with stays greater than 90 days tended to have more mental health treatment prior to the index episode and less severe substance-related symptoms, but more homelessness, whereas programs longer than 90 days had the least improvement in the ASI Alcohol composite and significantly less improvement than programs with stays of 15 to 30 and 31 to 45 days.

Humensky, J. L., Jordan, N., Stroupe, K. T., & Haynes, D. (2013). Employment Status of Veterans Receiving Substance Abuse Treatment from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Psychiatric Services. 64(2), pp. 177-180. DOI: 10.1176/

This study examined employment outcomes of veterans with substance use disorders post substance abuse treatment. According to the study results, the percentage of veterans with any days of paid work rose from 28% at intake to 35% at follow-up. Veterans with comorbid anxiety and general medical conditions had lower odds of having earnings from employment or days of paid work at follow-up. The authors argue that veterans with substance use disorders, particularly those with comorbid general medical and anxiety disorders, may be at risk of employment problems.

Back to Top
Back to Top