The effects of binge drinking on military readiness: The inability to deploy

Raymond J Clydesdale, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The negative outcomes from alcohol misuse have been chronicled for decades in epidemiological studies. Recent research has focused on patterns of drinking. Binge and heavy drinking have been associated with multiple negative outcomes, to include surrogate outcomes designed to measure decrements to military readiness. This study is perhaps the first to examine whether binge or heavy drinking patterns are associated with the U.S. military’s overall inability to deploy rate or the individual reasons unable to deploy. The prevalence of binge and heavy drinking and the inability to deploy rates were assessed from responses to the 2005 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Military Personnel. A secondary analysis of extant data resulted in a final sample size of 13,619 respondents who represented 847,253 active-duty military personnel. Multivariate models were fitted to examine the association between patterns of drinking and individual reasons for the inability to deploy. Logistic regression showed no association of binge or heavy drinking to greater inability to deploy. Interestingly, individual reasons for the inability to deploy did show an association to include: Training, Dental Issue, No HIV Test, and Family Situation. There was no association noted for the individual reasons: Injury, Illness, Leave/Temporary Duty, or Other. Binge and heavy drinkers appear to be more susceptible to the psychosocial determinants than physical determinants as reasons for the inability to deploy.

Subject Area

Public health|Military studies

Recommended Citation

Clydesdale, Raymond J, "The effects of binge drinking on military readiness: The inability to deploy" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1467318.