Postdeployment civilian unemployment has become a common problem and source of additional stress for National Guard (NG) personnel. This study evaluated 126 California NG members, exploring the relationship between immediate postdeployment employment status and self-reported mental health symptoms, including evidence of alcohol misuse. Participants were recruited from a NG unit within the first 3 months after returning home in August 2011. Over one-third of participants reported being unemployed beyond the part-time NG commitment. Mental health symptoms were greater in those participants without civilian employment. Additionally, those participants with comorbid alcohol misuse with either depression or post-traumatic stress disorder were significantly more likely to lack civilian employment. Interaction testing revealed a significant interaction between employment status and alcohol misuse for both depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Alcohol use was concluded to moderate the relationship between civilian unemployment and mental health symptoms. Results suggest that the part-time employment provided through NG service may serve as a protective factor in the development of negative psychological outcomes, except for cases where alcohol misuse is present.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health