Sleep, Mental Disorders and TBI in Deployed Military Members


Name: Pamela Wall

Rank: CDR

Organization: University of Pennsylvania

Performance Site: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Year Published: 2013

Abstract Status: Project Completed


U.S. military members are often forward deployed to austere environments where they are exposed to environmental, mental, and physiological stressors that can negatively affect their wellbeing and readiness for service. Furthermore, these service members are at high risk for developing sleep disorders, mental disorders, and traumatic brain injury (TBI) which can cause functional disability and further erode mission readiness. While there is sufficient evidence on the separate relationships between these three clusters of disorders, there are relatively few studies that look at all three in a military and/or veteran population. Medical officers in the United States Military need information about these complex interactions in order to determine risk for future disease or injury and to ensure that those who are sent to austere environments are psychologically resilient. 

The purpose of this retrospective study is to determine the temporal patterns and relationships between sleep disorders, mental disorders, and TBI in service members who have deployed from 2001-2011. To fulfill this purpose, longitudinal medical surveillance data from two electronic medical charting systems, the Defense Medical Surveillance System (DMSS) and the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED) will be used. Specifically a dataset that includes over 288,000 deployed service members with a diagnosed sleep disorder will be extracted for analysis. Using these clinical and administrative data the following research questions will be answered:  RQ1:  What is the distribution of sleep disorders diagnoses? RQ2:  What mental disorder diagnoses occur most often with each sleep disorder diagnosis? RQ3:  Which sleep disorder diagnoses are found in those with TBI? RQ4:  Does a sleep disorder diagnosis prior to deployment increase the likelihood of having a mental disorder or TBI diagnosis post deployment? RQ5:  In those with both sleep and mental health diagnoses, which tend to come first? A series of descriptive statistics, logistic regression analysis, and Chi Square tests for independence will be used to answer the research questions.


Final Report is available on NTRL: