Armed Forces personnel who deploy as individual augmentees (IAs), with a unit other than their formed unit, often fill shortages or provide specialized knowledge or skill sets. This article examined the effect of deploying as an IA on mental health outcomes and unit cohesion. A U.K. military cohort study was used to compare IAs (n = 1352) with personnel who had deployed with a formed unit (n = 2980). Differences between the groups in questionnaire assessed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version), common mental disorders (General Health Questionnaire-12) and alcohol misuse (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) were examined with logistic and negative-binomial regression analyses. There was no difference between IAs and those who deployed with a formed unit in level of unit cohesion, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or common mental disorder. Deployment as an IA was associated with less alcohol misuse (Odds Ratio 0.77, 95% Confidence Interval 0.63-0.94). IAs appeared able to integrate with the group they deployed with as levels of unit cohesion were similar to personnel who deployed with a formed unit. IAs were also at a lower risk of alcohol misuse compared to personnel who deployed with a formed unit.
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