Predictors of alcohol use prior to deployment in National Guard Soldiers

Amanda G. Ferrier-Auerbach, Shannon M. Kehle, Christopher R. Erbes, Paul A. Arbisi, Paul Thuras, Melissa A. Polusny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Frequent and heavy alcohol use is associated with negative mental and physical health consequences. Previous research has suggested that alcohol misuse is associated with demographic, personality, and mental health variables. This study examined the relative contribution of these factors in predicting drinking among National Guard soldiers prior to deployment to a combat zone. Members of a National Guard Brigade Combat Team (N = 515) completed questionnaires assessing drinking behaviors in the past year (frequency, quantity, binge, and total drinking), as well as demographic, personality, and mental health variables. As a group, demographic and personality variables significantly predicted all drinking outcomes. Negative emotionality and disconstraint were independent predictors of all drinking variables. Younger age predicted higher quantity of drinking, while being unmarried predicted greater total drinking and higher frequency of binge drinking. Once the influence of personality variables were accounted for, mental health was not associated with any drinking variable. The results of this study illustrate the role of factors associated with problematic drinking in a sample of high-risk individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-631
Number of pages7
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grants to Melissa A. Polusny from the Minnesota Medical Foundation (Grant #3662-9227-06) and Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (W81XWH-07-2-0033). The authors would like thank MAJ Cora Courage and COL Michael Rath for their assistance with subject recruitment for this project. We would also like to express our appreciation to other members of the research team who contributed to this work: Kenna Bolton-Holz, Robyn Campbell, Molly Charlesworth, Olivia Darrah, Courtney Duffy, Ashley Gulden, Nicole Hofman, Katie Koenig, Kari Leiting, Shannon Martin, Lynsey Miron, Amy Moran, Madhavi Reddy, Kailey Roberts, and Alicia Sandberg.


  • Alcohol use
  • Military
  • PTSD
  • Personality
  • Substance use


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