Despite the fact that student veteran populations on college campuses stand to dramatically increase following the passage of the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2008 (commonly referred to as the """"""""new GI Bill""""""""), little is known about the health issues, specifically alcohol-related, of veterans as they shift from military life to college life. Given that previous research suggests that veterans are at risk for developing alcohol-related problems and disorders, their entry into another hazardous environment, the heavy-alcohol consuming college campus, may exacerbate these risks and disproportionately affect their well-being and adjustment. Therefore, this study will examine the prevalence and correlates of military veterans'/student service members'alcohol use and abuse following (re)entry into college. It specifically explores whether student veterans'alcohol-related cognitions and patterns of use differ from those of their non-military peers, as well as whether they also experience a greater proportion of negative outcomes (mental health, social, and academic) as a result of their alcohol use. The sample includes 354 students (195 veterans/student service members;68 ROTC students;91 civilian students). Data collection will involve internet-based surveys addressing alcohol-related expectancies, beliefs, consumption patterns, as well as mental health (e.g., including depression, psychological distress, posttraumatic stress disorder) and academic (GPA, major, academic self-efficacy, locus of control) related correlates. Individual (e.g., combat exposure), interpersonal (e.g., social support), and institutional (e.g., campus alcohol culture) predictors of alcohol use will also be explored. Hypotheses regarding the prevalence and correlates of military veterans'/student service members'alcohol use and abuse during college will be primarily tested via multi-level structural equations modeling.

Public Health Relevance

This study examines prevalence and correlates of student service members'alcohol use/abuse following (re)entry into college. We have particular interest in establishing whether veterans'alcohol use patterns are differentially linked to negative health, social, and academic outcomes. Identification of these factors will provide universities with necessary insight for the development of support programming to aid in successful academic and personal functioning of this special sub-group.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IFCN-L (50))
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Godette, Dionne
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Purdue University
Other Domestic Higher Education
West Lafayette
United States
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Whiteman, Shawn D; Barry, Adam E; Mroczek, Daniel K et al. (2013) The development and implications of peer emotional support for student service members/veterans and civilian college students. J Couns Psychol 60:265-78
Barry, Adam E; Whiteman, Shawn D; MacDermid Wadsworth, Shelley M (2012) Implications of posttraumatic stress among military-affiliated and civilian students. J Am Coll Health 60:562-73
Whiteman, Shawn D; Barry, Adam E (2011) A Comparative Analysis of Student Service Member/Veteran and Civilian Student Drinking Motives. J Stud Aff Res Pract 48:297-313