Post-9/11 service members: Associations between gender, marital status, and psychiatric aeromedical evacuations from combat zones

Brian A. Moore, Kennesaw State University
Casey L. Straud, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Willie J. Hale, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Monty T. Baker, Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center
Cubby L. Gardner, Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center
Jason L. Judkins, United States Army Research Institute for Environmental Medicine
Antoinette M. Shinn, Joint Base San Antonio
Shelia W. Savell, Joint Base San Antonio
Jeffery A. Cigrang, Wright State University
Jim Mintz, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Ashton Rouska, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences


Psychiatric aeromedical evacuations are one of the leading causes of medical related evacuations of US military personnel from combat. Currently, no studies have examined gender and marital status of individuals who were evacuated from combat for a psychiatric diagnosis. Psychiatric aeromedical evacuation data from 5,957 United States military personnel deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan between 2001 and 2013 were analyzed using chi-square tests of independence, odds ratios (OR), and standardized residuals. Analyses showed that female service members were evacuated at higher rates (178 per 100,000) than males (115 per 100,000). When compared to nonmarried females, married females did not present with increased risk of psychiatric aeromedical evacuation on any diagnosis. Married males, however, were more likely to be evacuated than married females for PTSD (OR = 1.98) and TBI (OR = 1.14). Likewise, married males, compared to nonmarried males, were more likely to be evacuated for PTSD (OR = 1.66) and anxiety (OR = 1.38). Although deployments can be extremely stressful experiences for some military service members, they may be especially so among unmarried females and married males. This study provides a unique contribution to enhancing the understanding of risk factors related to psychiatric aeromedical evacuation for deployed service members.