The association between mental health and hypertension in the 2005 Department of Defense Population Survey

Scott David Zaleski, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Major objectives within Healthy People 2010 include improving hypertension and mental health management of the American population. Both mental health issues and hypertension exist in the military which may decrease the health status of military personnel and diminish the ability to complete assigned missions. Some cases may be incompatible with military service even with optimum treatment. In the interest of maintaining a fit fighting force, the Department of Defense regularly conducts a survey of health related behaviors among active duty military personnel. The 2005 DoD Survey was conducted to obtain information regarding health and behavioral readiness among active duty military personnel to assess progress toward selected Healthy People 2010 objectives. This study is a cross-sectional prevalence design looking at the association of hypertension treatment with mental health issues (either treatment or perceived need for treatment) within the military population sampled in the 2005 DoD Survey. There were 16,946 military personnel in the final cross-sectional sample representing 1.3 million active duty service members. The question is whether there is a significant association between the self-reported occurrence of hypertension and the self-reported occurrence of mental health issues in the 2005 DoD Survey. In addition to these variables, this survey examined the contribution of various sociodemographic, occupational, and behavioral covariates. An analysis of the demographic composition of the study variables was followed by logistic analysis, comparing outcome variables with each of the independent variables. Following univariate regression analysis, multivariate regression was performed with adjustment (for those variables with an unadjusted alpha level less than or equal to 0.25). All the mental health related indicators were associated with hypertension treatment. The same relationship was maintained after multivariate adjustment. The covariates remaining as significant (p < 0.05) in the final model included gender, age, race/ethnicity and obesity. There is a need to recognize and treat co-morbid medical diagnoses among mental health patients and to improve quality of life outcomes, whether in the military population or the general population. Optimum health of the individual can be facilitated through discovery of treatable cases, to minimize disruptions of military missions, and even allow for continued military service.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Zaleski, Scott David, "The association between mental health and hypertension in the 2005 Department of Defense Population Survey" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1467444.