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Assessing Fitness for Military Enlistment: Physical, Medical, and Mental Health Standards
percent to a low of about 50 percent. Since then, it has fluctuated only slightly. The percentage of youth who indicated being drunk in the past 30 days changed very little between 1991 and the present, standing at just over 30 percent in 2003. Rates of alcohol use are related to both gender and race and ethnicity, but the gender effects are much smaller. For both young men and young women, whites have the highest rates of alcohol consumption and blacks the lowest. Hispanic youth are in between but are closer to whites than blacks.
Marijuana usage also shows a steep drop between 1978 and 1992, from a maximum of 37 percent to a low of 12 percent. The rate began rising again in the early 1990s and reached a more recent maximum of just under 25 percent in 1997, and it has remained at about that level since that time. The rate of other illicit drug use has remained very close to 10 percent for the past eight years or so. Total illicit drug use among men differs very little by race; however, black women have rates that are consistently 10 points below white women. Approximately 6 percent of applicants are initially disqualified on the basis of a positive test for marijuana during the physical examination at the military entrance processing station.
Preservice smoking is of interest because of its demonstrated relationship with early attrition during the first term of military service. Trend data generally show that smoking rates declined during the 1970s, remained fairly flat during the 1980s, and began increasing during the 1990s (when marijuana use also began rising). Cigarette smoking rates reached a peak in 1997 and then began declining. By 2003, smoking rates had reached historic lows of 24 percent for any smoking and 16 percent for daily smoking. With regard to daily cigarette smoking, rates are somewhat higher for young men, but usually by just a few percentage points, while larger differences exist by race and ethnicity. White young men and women are much more likely to smoke than their black or Hispanic counterparts. Black youth have the lowest rates of smoking of all groups. There are no enlistment standards related to preservice smoking.
The Nature of Military Work
Task 2: Examine the changing nature of work generally and the new demands placed on the military in the post–cold war era.
Studies show that technology is increasing the physical demands of some jobs and decreasing the demands of others. This leads to the ques-