Military Service and Alcohol Use

Jay D. Teachman, Western Washington University
Carter Anderson, Western Washington University
Lucky M. Tedrow, Western Washington University

It is well known that enlistees and veterans are more likely to use alcohol than civilians. However, most of this research is potentially biased in that it often does not employ control variables and is based on cross-sectional data. Much of this research also fails to consider the relationship between military service and alcohol use among women. Using longitudinal data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Study of Youth, we investigate the relationship between military service and alcohol use using a fixed-effects approach. We find that military service appears to encourage young men to consume alcohol. Also, the effect of military service is not limited to the time that men spend in the military in that male veterans are also more likely to consume alcohol than are comparable civilians. We find, however, that women who serve, both enlistees and veterans, are less likely to drink than their civilian counterparts.

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Presented in Poster Session 7: Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, and Reproductive Health