Apr 28, 2021
RAND researchers report key findings from the 2018 Health Related Behaviors Survey of active component service members. This report details the survey's methodology, sample demographics, and results in the areas of health promotion and disease prevention, substance use, mental and emotional health, physical health and functional limitations, sexual behavior and health, sexual orientation and health, and deployment experiences and health.
The Health Related Behaviors Survey (HRBS) is the U.S. Department of Defense's (DoD's) flagship survey for understanding the health, health behaviors, and well-being of service members. Originally implemented to assess substance use — illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco — the survey now includes a number of content areas that can potentially affect force readiness, or the ability to meet the demands of military life, including mental and physical health, sexual behavior, and postdeployment problems. In 2016, the Defense Health Agency asked the RAND Corporation to update survey content, administer a revised version of the survey, and analyze data from the resulting 2018 HRBS of active component personnel, including those in the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard. This report details the methodology, sample demographics, and results from that survey in the domains of health promotion and disease prevention, substance use, mental and emotional health, physical health and functional limitations, and sexual behavior and health. Two special sections focus on sexual orientation and health and deployment experiences and health. Differences across subgroups are examined, including service branch, pay grade, gender, race/ethnicity, and age group. The results presented are intended to supplement data already collected by DoD and to inform policy initiatives to help improve the readiness, health, and well-being of the force.
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Mental and Emotional Health
Physical Health and Functional Limitations
Sexual Behavior and Health
Sexual Orientation and Health
Deployment Experiences and Health
Summary and Policy Implications
2018 DoD Health Related Behaviors Survey
Invitation Letter and Letters of Support
Description of Measures Used in the 2018 DoD Health Related Behaviors Survey
Key Outcomes by Race/Ethnicity and Age Group
Missing Data and Imputation Method Detail