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Epidemiological investigations

Our epidemiologists and research psychologists develop and administer surveys that help us gauge the well-being of our service members. We analyze survey data and military records to identify individual and situational factors associated with service members’ risk of developing psychological, behavioral, or physical health problems.

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Background

The foundation of effectively preventing and treating psychological and behavioral health problems is knowledge of the factors responsible for their development and persistence. In our Epidemiological Investigations portfolio, epidemiologists and research psychologists develop and administer surveys, and analyze military medical and personnel data to estimate the prevalence of mental and behavioral health problems and identify risk factors for their development and persistence.

A broad range of risk and protective factors are examined; these include pre-military experiences ( childhood environment), military and nonmilitary stressors and exposures, social relationships, resilience, personality traits, attitudes, cognitive factors, demographic characteristics, military characteristics, and environmental factors.

Value

    Our epidemiological investigative research provides empirically-based information about factors associated with development and persistence of psychological and behavioral problems. We also study factors that protect against military personnel developing these problems.

    Our research supports the development of interventions that promote health and reduce the risk of psychological or behavioral health problems. It also assists with creating interventions that reduce symptoms and promote return to health in service members with psychological or behavioral health problems.

Goals

  • Identify critical risk and protective factors for developing and sustaining psychological and behavioral health problems.
  • Develop screenings to identify service members at greatest risk of developing psychological and behavioral health problems.
  • Disseminate information about current incidence and prevalence of psychological and behavioral health problems among service members.
  • Use information gained to inform the development of innovative interventions to promote health and readiness.

Capabilities

  • Access to population-level military medical and personnel records, as well as military survey data
  • Partnerships with line leadership and academic partners to maximize relevance and research excellence
  • Development and implementation of large-scale longitudinal survey research
  • Use of complex statistical methods to identify risk and protective factors for negative psychological, behavioral, and physical health outcomes

Current Research

  • Longitudinal analysis of survey and archival military data to identify risk factors for workplace violence among active-duty service members
  • Creation and validation of an improved suicide screening tool based on surveys of patients in military primary care settings
  • Analysis of pre-military factors associated with Marines’ resilience following combat deployment
  • Use of population-level medical archival data to identify conditions commonly comorbid with PTSD among service members