Jun 21, 2018
The health related behaviors survey for active-duty service members
5.2% identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT)
LGBT personnel were more likely than their peers to report moderate and severe depression, self-injury, suicide ideation and attempts, risky sexual behavior, binge drinking, and current cigarette use.
56.2% reported at least one prior combat or noncombat deployment
Among those who had ever deployed:
The Health Related Behaviors Survey (HRBS) is the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)'s flagship survey for understanding the health, health-related behaviors, and well-being of active-duty service members.
The 2015 HRBS shows that active-duty Coast Guardsmen generally have better health and health-related behaviors than the U.S. adult population, but there are some areas of concern.
The proportion of Coast Guardsmen who are of normal weight falls short of Healthy People 2020 goals, although measurement issues may influence this percentage. Most Coast Guardsmen get less than seven hours of sleep nightly, short of the Healthy People 2020 goal. Coast Guardsmen are also more likely than other U.S. adults to binge drink.
Nevertheless, Coast Guardsmen exceed Healthy People 2020 goals for physical activity. Their rates of cigarette smoking are below those of the general U.S. population. Their rates of illicit drug use and prescription drug misuse are also below those of other U.S. adults.
Development of military-appropriate population benchmarks, especially by service branch, may facilitate goal-setting, command visibility, and incremental improvements in health-related readiness.
A low overall response rate (20.4% for the Coast Guard and 8.6% across all services) suggests that the results should be interpreted with caution and in conjunction with other existing data. New ways to improve survey response rates are needed, including focusing survey content, shifting to a confidential rather than anonymous survey, and addressing information technology issues related to use of a non-DoD email address. The above comparisons to the general adult population do not control for differences in demographic composition.
Adapted from 2015 Department of Defense Health Related Behaviors Survey (HRBS) of Active-Duty Service Members: Final Report, by Sarah O. Meadows, Charles C. Engel, Rebecca L. Collins, Robin Beckman, Matthew Cefalu, Jennifer Hawes-Dawson, Molly Doyle, Amii M. Kress, Lisa Sontag-Padilla, Rajeev Ramchand, and Kayla M. Williams, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, RR-1695-OSD, 2018. The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous. RAND is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and committed to the public interest. For the complete report detailing these and other findings, visit www.rand.org/t/RR1695.
Limited Print and Electronic Distribution Rights: This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for non commercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited. Permission is given to duplicate this document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of our research documents for commercial use. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.html.
To view this infographic online, visit www.rand.org/t/IG129z5.