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For a small minority of personnel, military service can have a negative impact on their mental health. Yet no studies have assessed how the mental health of UK veterans (who served during the recent operations in Afghanistan or Iraq) compares to non-veterans, to determine if they are at a disadvantage. We examine the prevalence of mental disorders and alcohol misuse in UK veterans compared to non-veterans.
Veteran data were taken from the third phase of the King's Centre for Military Health Research cohort study (n = 2917). These data were compared with data on non-veterans taken from two large general population surveys: 2014 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (n = 5871) and wave 6 of the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS, n = 22 760).
We found that, overall, UK veterans who served at the time of recent military operations were more likely to report a significantly higher prevalence of common mental disorders (CMD) (23% v. 16%), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (8% v. 5%) and alcohol misuse (11% v. 6%) than non-veterans. Stratifying by gender showed that the negative impact of being a veteran on mental health and alcohol misuse was restricted to male veterans. Being ill or disabled was associated with a higher prevalence of CMD and PTSD for both veterans and non-veterans.
Whilst the same sociodemographic groups within the veteran and non-veteran populations seemed to have an increased risk of mental health problems (e.g. those who were unemployed), male veterans, in particular, appear to be at a distinct disadvantage compared to those who have never served.
Dietary pattern analyses have most commonly used food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) data for large population studies, whilst food diaries (FD) tend to be used with smaller datasets and followed up for shorter terms, restricting the possibility of a direct comparison. Studies comparing dietary patterns derived from two different assessment methods, in relation to diet and disease are limited. The aims of this study are to assess the agreement between dietary patterns derived from FFQ and FDs and to compare the associations between the Mediterranean dietary pattern and the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute of Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) dietary pattern in relation to colorectal cancer incidence.
The study population included 2276 healthy middle-aged women – participants of the UK Women's Cohort Study. Energy and nutrient intakes, derived from 4-day FDs and from a 217-item FFQ were compared. A 10 and an 8-component score indicating adherence to the Mediterranean diet and to the 2007 WCRF/AICR cancer prevention recommendations respectively were generated. Agreement was assessed by weighted Kappa statistics and the Bland-Altman method. Cox regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for colorectal cancer risk for both the FD and the FFQ patterns, for each score separately.
The Bland-Altman method showed that the FFQ gave a higher energy intake compared to the FD with a bias of -525 kcal (95% CI -556, -493) between the two methods. Agreement was slight for the Mediterranean diet score (Κ = 0.15; 95% CI: 0.14, 0.16) and fair for the WCRF/AICR score (Κ = 0.38; 95% CI: 0.37, 0.39). A total of 173 incident cases of colorectal cancer were documented. In the multi-variable adjusted models, the estimates for an association with colorectal cancer were weak: HR = 0.94 (95% CI: 0.83 to 1.06) for a 1-unit increment in the Mediterranean diet score using FD and HR = 1.01 (95% CI: 0.83 to 1.24) for a 1-unit increment in the WCRF/AICR score using FD. For scores derived from the FFQ, estimates were inverse, but weak (HR = 0.80 (95% CI: 0.90 to 1.00) for a 1-unit increment in the Mediterranean diet score using FFQ and HR = 0.84 (95% CI: 0.67 to 1.05) for a 1-unit increment in the WCRF/AICR score using FFQ.
There is insufficient evidence of an association of colorectal cancer risk with the Mediterranean dietary pattern or with the WCRF/AICR cancer prevention recommendations, irrespective of the dietary assessment method in this sample. Further studies with larger sample sizes, using FD for diet assessment are warranted.
Build systems are awesome, terrifying – and unloved. They are used by every developer around the world, but are rarely the object of study. In this paper, we offer a systematic, and executable, framework for developing and comparing build systems, viewing them as related points in a landscape rather than as isolated phenomena. By teasing apart existing build systems, we can recombine their components, allowing us to prototype new build systems with desired properties.
Mental health patients can experience involuntary treatment as disempowering and stigmatising, and contact with recovered peers is cited as important for countering stigma and fostering agency and autonomy integral to recovery.
To advance understanding of the interaction between involuntary treatment and contact with recovered peers, and explore hypothesised relationships to mechanisms of self-evaluation relevant to recovery.
Eighty-nine adults diagnosed with serious mental illness completed items to assess involuntary treatment experience and the extent of prior contact with recovered peers, the Internalised Stigma of Mental Illness Scale, the Self-efficacy for Personal Recovery Scale, the Questionnaire about the Process of Recovery and relevant demographic and clinical scales.
Contact with recovered peers was found to moderate the effects of involuntary treatment on internalised stigma. Sequential conditional process models (i.e. moderated mediation) then demonstrated that conditional internalised stigma (i.e. moderated by contact with recovered peers) mediated the indirect effect of involuntary treatment on recovery-specific self-efficacy, which in turn influenced recovery. Compared with those with low contact with recovered peers, recovery scores were 3.54 points higher for those with high contact.
Although study methods limit causative conclusions, findings are consistent with proposals that contact with recovered peers may be helpful for this patient group, and suggest this may be particularly relevant for those with involuntary treatment experience. Directions for future research, to further clarify measurement and conceptual tensions relating to the study of (dis)empowering experiences in mental health services, are discussed in detail.
Complex challenges may arise when patients present to emergency services with an advance decision to refuse life-saving treatment following suicidal behaviour.
To investigate the use of advance decisions to refuse treatment in the context of suicidal behaviour from the perspective of clinicians and people with lived experience of self-harm and/or psychiatric services.
Forty-one participants aged 18 or over from hospital services (emergency departments, liaison psychiatry and ambulance services) and groups of individuals with experience of psychiatric services and/or self-harm were recruited to six focus groups in a multisite study in England. Data were collected in 2016 using a structured topic guide and included a fictional vignette. They were analysed using thematic framework analysis.
Advance decisions to refuse treatment for suicidal behaviour were contentious across groups. Three main themes emerged from the data: (a) they may enhance patient autonomy and aid clarity in acute emergencies, but also create legal and ethical uncertainty over treatment following self-harm; (b) they are anxiety provoking for clinicians; and (c) in practice, there are challenges in validation (for example, validating the patient’s mental capacity at the time of writing), time constraints and significant legal/ethical complexities.
The potential for patients to refuse life-saving treatment following suicidal behaviour in a legal document was challenging and anxiety provoking for participants. Clinicians should act with caution given the potential for recovery and fluctuations in suicidal ideation. Currently, advance decisions to refuse treatment have questionable use in the context of suicidal behaviour given the challenges in validation. Discussion and further patient research are needed in this area.
Declaration of interest
D.G., K.H. and N.K. are members of the Department of Health's (England) National Suicide Prevention Advisory Group. N.K. chaired the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline development group for the longer-term management of self-harm and the NICE Topic Expert Group (which developed the quality standards for self-harm services). He is currently chair of the updated NICE guideline for Depression. K.H. and D.G. are NIHR Senior Investigators. K.H. is also supported by the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and N.K. by the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.