Is deployment status the critical determinant of psychosocial problems among reserve/guard soldiers?

Rachel A. Hoopsick, D. Lynn Homish, R. Lorraine Collins, Thomas H. Nochajski, Jennifer P. Read, Gregory G. Homish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A general assumption that deployment is the primary catalyst for psychological and social difficulties may contribute to underrecognition and undertreatment of problems among never-deployed service members (i.e., having no history of ever being deployed). We aimed to determine if ever-deployed (i.e., having a history of at least one deployment) and never-deployed United States Army Reserve and National Guard (USAR/NG) soldiers differed in mental health, substance use, and resiliency factors, and to determine the relative influence of deployment status and each of these factors on poor psychosocial outcomes. We analyzed a subset of data from Operation: SAFETY (Soldiers and Families Excelling Through the Years) (N = 404), an ongoing study examining the health and well-being of USAR/NG soldiers. Bivariate analyses demonstrated that soldiers did not significantly differ across a range of measures on the basis of deployment status (ps > 0.05). In fact, Factor Analyses and Discriminant Function Analysis revealed that deployment status was the least salient factor to psychosocial problems among the measured variables and that the observed variables could not accurately discriminate between ever-deployed and never-deployed soldiers, F(8, 374) = 1.34, p > .05. Measures of mental health and substance use were more salient to psychosocial problems (ps < .05). Measures of resiliency loaded negatively onto psychosocial problems (ps < .05), indicating that they contribute to better well-being. Targeting screening and intervention efforts only on soldiers who have been deployed will miss opportunities to intervene on an equally affected group. Resiliency factors should be considered as intervention targets. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-471
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Services
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Army Reserve
  • deployment status
  • mental health
  • National Guard soldiers
  • psychosocial problems
  • resiliency
  • substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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