Epidemiology of major depressive disorder disability in the US military: FY 2007-2012

Elizabeth R. Packnett, Hoda Elmasry, Christine F. Toolin, David N. Cowan*, Michael R. Boivin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study assesses the incidence of major depressive disorder (MDD) disability discharge and retirement in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force and describes MDD comorbidity. Service members with a disability discharge for either MDD (n = 2,882) or any nonpsychiatric disability (n = 56,145), between fiscal years 2007 and 2012, were included in the study population. Those with MDD disability at first evaluation but not at last evaluation were excluded. The incidence of MDD disability discharge increased significantly in the Army and Air Force between fiscal years 2007 and 2012. MDD disability retirement significantly increased in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Females, and those who experienced at least one deployment, had higher incidence rates of MDD disability discharge. All services included spinal diseases and posttraumatic stress disorder in their top five comorbid categories. Given the association between trauma and MDD, further research into the role of both combat exposure and injury on MDD is merited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-678
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Epidemiology
  • Military
  • Mood disorders
  • Sex
  • Trauma


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