Depression, Alcohol Consumption, and Social Support in College Student Veterans
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Military veterans attending college may encounter difficulties transitioning from a structured military environment to college life. The current study examined self-reported depression, anxiety, alcohol consumption, and social support in this population. Student veterans (N = 120) completed an online survey, providing information about basic demographics, details regarding military service, psychiatric issues, depression, anxiety, social support, and alcohol consumption. Students were highly heterogeneous with respect to age, military service, and deployment experience. Depression, anxiety, social support, and alcohol use did not differ as a function of deployment or combat experience. Regressions were used to determine relationships between levels of depression and anxiety, and length of service, deployment, social support, and alcohol consumption. Due to collinearity between anxiety and depression, separate regressions were performed for these variables. A positive relationship was observed between depression and alcohol consumption and a negative relationship was observed between depression and social support. For anxiety, only a negative relationship between depression and social support was noted. These results converge with studies in non-veteran populations linking depression and anxiety to social support. However, they differ in that they do not link alcohol consumption to anxiety. A better understanding of veteran student health, as well as positive and negative coping behaviors will provide universities and colleges with much-needed information to improve campus resources and organizations that cater to veteran students.