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BACKGROUND: Anxiety and depression may hamper a smooth transition from military to civilian life and may be important predictors of longer-term health and functioning. However, it is as yet unclear to what extent they are determined by childhood factors in a recently transitioned population. METHODS: We utilised logistic regression and Generalised Structural Equation Modelling to analyse associations of ICD-10 past-year anxiety and depression with childhood trauma and disorder in a recently transitioned population using detailed interview data from the ADF (Australian Defence Force) Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme. RESULTS: Past-year anxiety (including PTSD) was prevalent (36.4%, 95% CI, 31.9-41.1) and associated with childhood anxiety (but not other types of childhood disorder), childhood interpersonal trauma (but not other childhood trauma) and adult-onset trauma. Childhood anxiety had a direct and significant association with past-year anxiety. The pathway between childhood interpersonal trauma and past-year anxiety was fully mediated by childhood anxiety. Past-year depression was less prevalent (11.3%, 95% CI, 8.7-14.5) and had no association with childhood disorder or trauma variables. LIMITATIONS: The main predictor variables utilized in this analysis were childhood experiences recalled from adulthood, thus rendering the responses vulnerable to autobiographical bias. CONCLUSIONS: Past-year anxiety was highly prevalent in the period of transition and had strong associations with childhood and military factors, suggesting predictability and potentially preventability.

Original publication




Journal article


J Affect Disord

Publication Date





59 - 66


Anxiety, Depression, Epidemiology, Military, Adult, Anxiety, Anxiety Disorders, Australia, Child, Depression, Humans, Military Personnel, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic