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The Impact of NORTH STAR on Suicidality, Substance Problems, Intimate-Partner Violence, and Child Abuse

NCJ Number
Military Medicine Volume: 186 Issue: 3-4 Dated: 2021 Pages: e351-358
Date Published
8 pages

The authors report on a randomized control trial of NORTH STAR, hypothesizing that bases assigned to NORTH STAR would show reduced prevalence of suicidality, alcohol and drug problems, partner and child abuse, and cumulative risk; the paper lays out the authors’ research methodology and outcomes.


The authors evaluated the effectiveness of New Orientation for Reducing Threats to Health from Secretive-problems That Affect Readiness (NORTH STAR), a community assessment, planning, and action framework to reduce the prevalence of suicidality, substance problems, intimate partner violence, and child abuse. One-third of U.S. Air Force bases worldwide were randomly assigned to NORTH STAR or an assessment-and-feedback-only condition. Two Air Force-wide, cross-sectional, anonymous, web-based surveys were conducted of randomly selected samples assessing risk/protective factors and outcomes. This study was reviewed and approved by the institutional review board at the investigators’ university and by the institutional review board at Fort Detrick. NORTH STAR, relative to control, bases experienced a 33 percent absolute risk reduction in hazardous drinking rates and cumulative risk, although, given the small number of bases, these effects were not statistically significant. Given its relatively low cost, use of empirically supported light-touch interventions, and emphasis on sustainability with existing resources, NORTH STAR may be a useful system for prevention of a range of adult behavioral health problems that are difficult to impact. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2021