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J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2019 Jul 29. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000508. [Epub ahead of print]

The Association of Lifetime and Deployment-Acquired Traumatic Brain Injury With Postdeployment Binge and Heavy Drinking.

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Institute for Behavioral Health, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts (Drs Adams and Larson); VHA Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center, Aurora, Colorado (Dr Adams); Departments of Psychiatry (Drs Campbell-Sills and Stein) and Family Medicine and Public Health (Drs Stein and Jain and Ms Sun), University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California; VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California (Dr Stein); Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Kessler); Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland (Dr Ursano); and Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Wexner Medical Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (Dr Corrigan).



To investigate associations of lifetime traumatic brain injury (LT-TBI) prior to an index deployment, and/or deployment-acquired TBI (DA-TBI), with postdeployment binge and heavy drinking.


Soldiers from 3 Brigade Combat Teams deployed to Afghanistan in 2012.


A total of 4645 soldiers who participated in the Army STARRS Pre/Post Deployment Study and completed 4 assessments: T0 (1-2 months predeployment), T1 (upon return to United States), T2 (3 months postdeployment), and T3 (9 months postdeployment).


Prospective, longitudinal study controlling for baseline binge drinking.


Self-reported past month binge drinking (5+ alcoholic beverages on the same day) and past month heavy drinking (binge drinking at least weekly) at T2 and T3.


In total, 34.3% screened positive for LT-TBI, and 19.2% screened positive for DA-TBI. At T2 only, LT-TBI, but not DA-TBI, was associated with increased odds of binge drinking (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.39, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.20-1.60, P < .001) and heavy drinking (AOR = 1.28, 95% CI: 1.09-1.49, P = .007). Among the subgroup with LT-TBI, also having DA-TBI was associated with increased risk of heavy drinking at T3 (AOR = 1.42, 95% CI: 1.03-1.95, P = .047).


Routine screening for LT-TBI may help target efforts to prevent alcohol misuse among military members.

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