Episode 120 - Dr. Nikki Wooten: Gender Differences Among Army Service Members in Substance Use Treatment Utilization During the Year Prior to Deployment

Monday, May 27, 2013, 12:52:47 PM

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In this episode, Dr. Nikki Wooten, herself an Army officer, describes her current research into the gender differences related to substance use treatment utilization of Army members in the year prior to their deployment. Her findings reveal the unique needs of women in our military, especially as they play an increasing role in our armed services.

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Average Rating: 5stars  interventions ii podcast review , Friday, April 06, 2018

By Allison :

I thought this podcast was excellent. I certainly believe that it is necessary to take a look at different treatment methods or approaches for women, as they definitely have different traumatic experiences being in the military, specifically related to sexual trauma.
Due to this male domination and masculinity some women leaders have limited progression, leadership, and are challenged by all positions above and below them. I could imagine women would be seen as weak and unable to perform to their ability in the military if they need assistance with a substance abuse issue. I understand, as mentioned in the podcast, that when one is in the military it is expected to give 110%. This can certainly contribute to role conflict for those who have other duties outside the service which may influence difficulties of much of the substance abuse seen.
My undergraduate major was alcohol and substance abuse counseling, with a minor in women and gender studies, and with my families heavy involvement in the military, this podcast was right up my alley. I am super interested in the relationship between military women and the use of pain killers, prescription drugs, and opioids. I had a female friend in the military that lost her life to opioids after returning from her tour. She explained she used due to adjustment back to civilian life, pain she suffered from injury, and trauma she experienced. Dr. Wooten explained, I agree that it is essential to be having open conversations and encouraging mental health, and substance abuse treatment for those who are returning from war in order to aid soldiers in coping with the traumas they experience overseas and reduce the amount of mental health issues, substance abuse, and suicide tragedies that we are seeing.

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Average Rating: 4stars  lack of women's utilization of military help services, Sunday, January 31, 2016

By Qalam :

This was an important podcast for us working with the military population because the number of women veterans is increasing. Women’s lack of utilization of services and gender disparities in health services is associated with a lack of services available for this group. For example the VA in Buffalo does not have a GYN department-this is problem. Dr. Wooten elucidated issues such as identification of how clients are referred to services and externalizing behaviors but women tend to suffer with their problems in silence; often not engaging in those externalizing behaviors, therefore how do services reach this group although their needs are similar to their male counterparts? Women have taken on larger roles in the military therefore research in this undeserved population is critical. I am currently involved in research on veteran homelessness and substance abuse and there is a lack of women tend to use those services due to MST (Military Sexual Trauma) as well as service related trauma, family and readjustment issues (Hamilton, Poza & Washington, 2011). I work with veterans and have witnessed those challenges women face within the military culture that follows them in VA service organizations. Family issues such as childcare, domestic violence issue and pregnancy also are factors that may influence women’s decision to seek services. Then the question becomes how can the military begin to implement services to deal with women’s unique issues? And, how can programs such as Veterans Administration do a better job of incorporating services that address women’s unique needs? Dr. Wooten’s research is welcomed and much needed in the Social Work field. Lastly, I appreciate Dr. Nochajski bringing up the issue of active duty suicide which I believe is a problem that needs further research and attention.

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Average Rating: 5stars  a study that will help better understand an unspoken issue, Saturday, February 08, 2014

By Robert Cole :

Dr. Wooten’s research sounds very applicable to our current military situations. With a smaller military force that has endured repeated deployments, women and men, are encountering increased stressors. In addition to stressors encountered from combat operations, the service members are experiencing a wide array of stressors related to their “non-military” life and other types of trauma such as sexual abuse (both males and females). One way that service members do cope with these stressors is with self-medication through drugs and alcohol. I would recommend that a variable that Dr. Wooten may want to include is whether the individuals are mandated (officially or unofficially) to seek treatment. From personal observations in the military, it seemed peers only sought treatment if mandated by the senior members. I should note that I was only assigned to combat units that only had females in administrative roles. I do think that Dr. Wooten makes a valid point that male service members are more likely to externalize their stress. Dr. Wooten’s study seems very admirable and the results will be useful, as long as we remember that though surveys are de-identified, the fear does exist that complete honesty may lead to negative career consequences. I feel Dr. Wooten does attempt to mitigate this with open-ended questions that will allow for feedback that is more personal. Thank you to both Dr. Nochajski and Dr. Wooten for your service.

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