Science News
from research organizations

Child abuse contributes the most to mental health problems in the Canadian Armed Forces

Date:
March 16, 2016
Source:
SAGE
Summary:
Among the mental health disorders reported in the Canadian Armed Forces in 2013, 8.7 percent of the burden of illness was attributed to Afghanistan-related military service while 28.7 percent was attributed to past child abuse experiences.
Share:
FULL STORY

Military and Sociodemographic Descriptives of Serving Regular Force Personnel with (Unweighted n ¼ 3385; Weighted n ¼ 29,040) and without (Unweighted n ¼ 3,311; Weighted n ¼ 35,340) an Afghanistan-Related Deployment in 2013.
Credit: David Boulos, M.Sc. and Mark A. Zamorski, M.D., MHSA

Among the mental health disorders reported in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in 2013, 8.7% of the burden of illness was attributed to Afghanistan-related military service while 28.7% was attributed to past child abuse experiences. This research is out today in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, published by the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) in partnership with SAGE Publishing.

Examining the 2013 Canadian Forces Mental Health Survey (CFMHS), which includes data from 6,696 fulltime personnel, researchers David Boulos and Mark A Zamorski found:

  • 18.4% of respondents who were deployed to Afghanistan reported that in 2012, they had significant symptoms of one or more of the following six common mental disorders: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, thoughts about suicide, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol abuse or dependence, or had experienced a major depressive episode.
  • Respondents that were deployed to Afghanistan were 2.4% more likely to have experienced child abuse than those that were not deployed to Afghanistan.
  • The Afghanistan-related deployments accounted for 34.7% of the burden of panic disorder, 32.1% of post-traumatic stress disorder, and 9.3% of major depression.
  • Child abuse accounted for 48.4% of the cases of alcohol dependency, 37.1 % of post-traumatic stress disorders, and 33.8% of the cases of suicidal ideation.
  • Together, Afghanistan-related deployments and child abuse experiences accounted for 38% of any mental disorder, 58.5% of post-traumatic stress disorders, 51.4% of panic disorders, and 37% of major depressive episodes.

"Our findings indicate that a significant proportion of past-year mental disorders in the CAF, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder, were attributed to Afghanistan-related deployments," wrote Boulos and Zamorski. "However, the contribution from child abuse experiences was much larger. These findings speak to the need for robust mental health systems that target the full range of determinants of mental health in military personnel, both in times of war and in times of peace."

This article is a part of the April 2016 supplement of The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, focused on the findings of the 2013 Canadian Forces Mental Health Survey (CFMHS). The supplement includes the following six articles:

Deniz Fikretoglu, Aihua Liu, Mark A. Zamorski, et al. "Perceived Need for and Perceived Sufficiency of Mental Health Care in the Canadian Armed Forces: Changes in the Past Decade and Comparisons to the General Population."

Mark A. Zamorski, Bennett RE, David Boulos, et al. "The 2013 Canadian Forces Mental Health Survey: Background and Methods"

Murray Weeks, Bryan G. Garber and Mark A. Zamorski "Disability and Mental Disorders in the Canadian Armed Forces"

Corneliu Rusu, Mark A. Zamorski, David Boulos, et al. "Prevalence Comparison of Past-year Mental Disorders and Suicidal Behaviours in the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian General Population"

Mark A. Zamorski, Rachel E. Bennett, Corneliu Rusu, Murray Weeks, David Boulos and Bryan G. Garber "Prevalence of Past-year Mental Disorders in the Canadian Armed Forces, 2002 -- 2013"

David Boulos and Mark A Zamorski "Contribution of the Mission in Afghanistan to the Burden of Past-year Mental Disorders in Canadian Armed Forces Personnel, 2013"


Story Source:

Materials provided by SAGE. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Cite This Page:

SAGE. "Child abuse contributes the most to mental health problems in the Canadian Armed Forces." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160316082730.htm>.
SAGE. (2016, March 16). Child abuse contributes the most to mental health problems in the Canadian Armed Forces. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160316082730.htm
SAGE. "Child abuse contributes the most to mental health problems in the Canadian Armed Forces." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160316082730.htm (accessed May 26, 2017).

RELATED STORIES