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Many U.S. Male Soldiers Had Troubled Childhoods, Study Finds
Date:7/23/2014

uld say it's critical to drive home the point that even if a quarter of military men have experienced an adverse event during childhood, that still means that fully three in four did not," he said.

"I'd also say that this study doesn't suggest exactly how traumatic these events were, or how consistently they were experienced, which is not to minimize the experiences, but just to know that numbers don't always speak to the nature of what happened," Wildeman noted.

"And in terms of what could explain this, my sense is that as a rough estimate probably three-quarters of the difference is driven by differences in socioeconomic backgrounds, meaning disadvantaged households," he said. "And selection into the military on the basis of socioeconomic disadvantage and hardship is broadly well known."

"And if you perhaps pair that with parenting styles that emphasize toughness and resilience and making it through adversity, it might explain why you'd end up with kids who have a rough childhood but who are also more excited and prepared for military service as a result," Wildeman continued. "It's complicated. And we don't know. But it makes some sense."

More information

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a variety of mental health services for soldiers.

SOURCES: John Blosnich, Ph.D., M.P.H., researcher, U.S. Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Christopher Wildeman, Ph.D., associate professor, policy analysis and management, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.; July 23, 2014, JAMA Psychiatry, online


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