Researchers studying Army soldiers before and after their combat deployments found higher rates of alcohol abuse after they returned home. But they were shocked to see an opposite trend among those who had actually killed in combat.
“We were very surprised by the findings,” study co-author Cristel Russell said in an American University-published summary. “Most previous research supported the prediction that more traumatic experiences would lead to more negative health outcomes, such as alcohol abuse. We found the opposite — that the most traumatic experiences of killing in combat actually led to a decrease in alcohol abuse post-deployment.”
One National Guard BCT is far too small a sample to really judge from, as well as potential problems in the methodology and length of the survey.
But it is still an interesting study, and probably worth more investigation.