Date: 02 May 2009

Psychological distress and mental health treatment among persons with and without active duty military experience, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United States, 2007

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To examine self-reported psychological distress (K-6 scale) and mental health treatment among persons with and without active duty U.S. military experience (ADME) currently residing in private residences in the U.S.


Analysis of 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data from 35 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico (n = 202,029 for those answering all K-6 questions, the treatment question, and the ADME question)


Adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, and education, overall mean K-6 scores of those with and without ADME were similar (p = 0.3223); however, more of those with, vs. without, ADME reported current mental health treatment (11.7 % vs. 9.6 %, p = 0.0001). Those with ADME receiving such treatment had a higher mean K-6 score (7.7) than those without ADME receiving such treatment (6.9) (p = 0.0032).


Community-dwelling persons with ADME have similar demographically-adjusted mean K-6 psychological distress scores, but greater likelihood of recent mental health treatment, compared to those without ADME.

Submitted: 16 October 2008; revised: 10 February 2009; accepted: 12 March 2009