Analysis of Alcohol Use and Alcohol Use Disorder Trends in U.S. Active-Duty Service Women

Stephanie Tower, Amanda Banaag, Rachel Sayko Adams, Miranda Lynn Janvrin*, Tracey Pérez Koehlmoos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Alcohol use (AU) and disorders (AUDs) have been increasing among women over the past decade, with the largest increases among women of child-bearing age. Unprecedented stressors during the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted AU for women with and without children. Little is known about how these trends are impacting women in the military. Methods: Cross-sectional study of active-duty service women (ADSW) in the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps during fiscal years (FY) 2016-2021. We report the prevalence of AU and AUD diagnoses by FY, before/during the COVID-19 pandemic (2016-2019; 2020-2021, respectively), and by parental status. Log-binomial and logistic regressions examined associations of demographics, military, and family structure characteristics, with AU and AUD, during pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19 timeframes. Results: We identified 281,567 ADSW in the pre-COVID-19 period and 237,327 ADSW in the during COVID-19 period. The prevalence of AU was lower during the COVID-19 period (47.9%) than during the pre-COVID-19 period (63.0%); similarly, the prevalence of AUD was lower during the COVID-19 period (2.7%) than during the pre-COVID period (4.0%). ADSW with children had larger percentage decreases during the COVID-19 period. ADSW with children had a consistently lower prevalence and odds of AUD compared with ADSW without children in the pre- and during COVID-19 periods. Conclusion: Decreasing trends in AU and AUD among ADSW were unexpected. However, the prevalence of AU and AUD may not have been accurately captured during the COVID-19 period due to reductions in access to care. Continued postpandemic comparison of AU/AUD among women by parental status and demographic factors may guide targeted health efforts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Women's Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • alcohol drinking
  • alcohol use disorder
  • military health
  • military health services
  • military medicine
  • women’s health

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