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Risk-taking behaviours among UK military reservists

17 Jul 2015

Background

Deploying in a combat role negatively impacts risk-taking behaviours, such as drinking, smoking and risky driving in regular UK military personnel. Little is known about the impact of deployment on the risk-taking behaviours of reservists.

Aims

To explore the impact of deployment on risk-taking behaviours among reservists.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional study. Hazardous drinking, risky driving, physical violence, smoking and attendance at accident and emergency (A&E) departments as a result of risk-taking behaviours were assessed by self-reported questionnaire.

Results

There were 1710 participants in the study; response rate 51%. The overall prevalence of risk-taking behaviours was: hazardous drinking 46%, smoking 18%, risky driving 11%, attending A&E due to risky behaviours 13% and reporting physical violence 3%. Deployment was significantly associated with risky driving [odds ratio (OR) 1.88, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.25–2.81], smoking (OR 2.02, 95% CI 1.46–2.78) and physical violence (OR 3.63, 95% CI 1.88–7.02).

Conclusions

It is important to consider the impact of deployment and military factors on the prevalence of risk-taking behaviours in reservists as greater numbers than ever before will face the prospect of deployment to overseas conflicts.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Occupational Medicine