Soldiers returning from combat military operations are at risk for developing a range of psychological problems. One way to facilitate the identification of these atrisk soldiers is to have them complete a psychological screening survey. Such a survey can be used to link soldiers reporting psychological problems with appropriate mental health services. The challenge of developing such a screen is to ensure that it is valid, short, and easy to administer. The US Army Medical Research Unit-Europe has been at the forefront of developing a valid psychological screen for use with soldiers at post-deployment. Research conducted prior to 2004 showed that screening needed to include five domains: post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, alcohol problems, anger, and relationship problems. Blind validation studies conducted in 2004 led to the selection of scale items and cut-offs for each domain resulting in an effective short screen with good sensitivity and specificity values. Finally, the question of when to conduct psychological screening at post-deployment has also been addressed through a comparison of prevalence estimates at immediate reintegration and three months post-deployment. Future research will examine scale refinement and the use of sleep problem questions in subsequent screening efforts.
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