Knowledge, attitudes, and practices affecting health behaviors in the U.S. Army Special Operations Command population of Rangers

Michael J Pagel, Florida International University


Malaria is a threat to United States military personnel operating in endemic areas, from which there have been hundreds of cases reported over the past decade. Each of these cases might have been avoided with proper adherence to malaria chemoprophylaxis medications. Military operations may detract from the strict 100% adherence required of these preventive medications. However, the reasons for non-adherence in military populations are not well understood. This behavior was investigated using a cross sectional study design on a convenience sample of U.S. Army Ranger volunteers (n=150) located at three military instillations. Theoretical support was based on components of the Health Belief Model, the Theory of Reasoned Action/Theory of Planned Behavior, and the Social Cognitive Theory. ^ Data on knowledge, attitudes, and practices, as well as multiple environmental domains was collected using an original yet unvalidated questionnaire. The data was analyzed using bivariate Pearson correlations, binary logistic regression, and moderated logistic regressions employing a 0.05 criterion of statistical significance. Power analyses predicted 96-98% power for this analysis. ^ Multiple significant medium strength Pearson correlation coefficients were identified relative to the two dependent variables Take medications as directed and Intend to take the medications as directed the next time. Binary logistic regression analyses identified multiple variables that may predict behavioral intentions to adhere to these preventive medications, as a proxy for behavioral change. Moderated logistic regression analyses identified Command Support for adherence to these medications as a potential significant moderator that interacts with independent variables within three domains of the survey questionnaire. ^ The findings indicate that there may be potential significant beneficial effects, which may improve this behavior in this population of Rangers through 1) promoting affirmative interpersonal communications that emphasize adherence to these medications, 2) including malaria chemoprophylaxis medications in the mission planning process, and 3) military command support, in the form of including the importance of proper adherence to these medications in the unit safety briefings.^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Public Health

Recommended Citation

Pagel, Michael J, "Knowledge, attitudes, and practices affecting health behaviors in the U.S. Army Special Operations Command population of Rangers" (2012). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3554195.