- Soldiers who reported high levels of optimism before being deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq were 11% less likely to report new pain postdeployment, even after controlling for potential confounders.
- After deployment, 37.3% of soldiers reported pain in ≥1 new body part, with back pain and joint pain the most common sites of new pain.
Why this matters
- 52.1% of soldiers reported high levels of optimism before deployment.
- Those who reported low levels of optimism predeployment were 35% more likely to report new pain compared with those reporting high levels of optimism predeployment.
- 20,734 US Army active duty, Reserve, and National Guard soldiers deployed to Afghanistan/Iraq between February 2010 and August 2014 were evaluated.
- New reports of pain after deployment were examined.
- Funding: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
- Each 1-U increase in optimism was associated with 11% lower odds of any new pain (OR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.86-0.93).
- Soldiers with high vs low optimism had 35% greater chances of reporting any new pain (OR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.21-1.50).
- Postdeployment, 37.3% of soldiers reported pain in ≥1 new body part:
- new back pain, joint pain, and frequent headaches were reported by 25.3%, 23.1%, and 12.1% of soldiers, respectively.
- Pain duration, intensity not assessed.
Coauthored with Antara Ghosh, PhD