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Risk Factors of Psychiatric Hospitalization of Military Service Persons in Taiwan: Preliminary Results from Unsupervised Clustering Techniques

Geng‑Fu Tsai, Yueh‑Ming Tai, Sy‑Ming Guu

Background: To understand the discrepancies of the use of mental health providers among different military ranks and/or compulsory/voluntary military services especially of the psychiatry admission during active services. Methods: We collected military medical records of one military psychiatry teaching hospital of north Taiwan from 2012 to 2015. All 3,513 samples were divided into three groups ─ enlisted females (EFs), enlisted males, and drafted males (DMs). The outcome measurement was the time period from the date of enlisted or drafted to the first psychiatric admission (E‑A period). After comparing baseline characteristics and E‑A period among three groups, we applied unsupervised clustering techniques, exhaustive Chi‑squared automatic interaction detector, to cluster samples based on their military ranks and compulsory/voluntary service. Results: In general, the EF group showed the longest E‑A period and the DM group the shortest. The most common diagnosis was major depression followed by anxiety or other nonpsychiatric disorders. The privates and recruits showed shorter E‑A periods, and the younger enlistment age of officers showed the longer E‑A period if we clustered based on military ranks. Those who entered army due to obligation showed shorter E‑A period and those males who enlisted voluntarily at age over 22.5 years also showed shorter E‑A period. Conclusion: This study demonstrates potential clusters associating with psychiatry admission in military. But, we caution that the findings here should be treated as preliminary.
Key Word compulsory service, military mental health, psychiatric admission, voluntary service
Editorial Committe, Taiwanese Journal of Psychiatry
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