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Association of Spirituality With Mental Health Conditions in Ohio National Guard Soldiers

Ganocy, Stephen J. PhD; Goto, Toyomi MA; Chan, Philip K. MS; Cohen, Gregory H. MSW; Sampson, Laura BA; Galea, Sandro MD, DrPH; Liberzon, Israel MD, PhD; Fine, Thomas MA; Shirley, Edwin PhD; Sizemore, James MDiv; Calabrese, Joseph R. MD; Tamburrino, Marijo B. MD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: July 2016 - Volume 204 - Issue 7 - p 524–529
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000519
Original Articles

Research exploring spirituality in military populations is a relatively new field with limited published reports. This study used the Spiritual Well-Being Scale to examine the association of spiritual well-being with suicidal ideation/behavior, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression and alcohol use disorders in a randomized sample of Ohio Army National Guard soldiers. The participants were 418 soldiers, mostly white and male, with nearly three-quarters indicating that they had been deployed at least once during their careers. Higher spirituality, especially in the existential well-being subscale, was associated with significantly less lifetime PTSD, depression, and alcohol use disorders and with less suicidal ideation over the past year. Future research in this area may benefit from a longitudinal design that can assess spirituality and mental health behaviors in addition to diagnoses at different time points, to begin to explore spirituality in a larger context.

*Department of Psychiatry, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH; †School of Public Health, Boston University, MA; ‡Mental Health Service, VA Ann Arbor Health System; §Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; and ∥Department of Psychiatry, University of Toledo, OH.

James Sizemore, MDiv, is a minister (has no academic affiliation).

Send reprint requests to Stephen J. Ganocy, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, 10524 Euclid Avenue, Walker Building 12th Floor, Cleveland, OH 44106. E-mail:

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