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Military Health System

2018 Health-Related Behaviors Survey (HRBS)

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (ASD-HA) in coordination with Defense Health Agency (DHA) is sponsoring this survey.

The purpose of this study is to assess health behaviors that have the potential to impact readiness and to assess the overall well being of the Armed Forces. The Department of Defense (DoD) uses data from the HRBS to improve education, training, treatment, and counseling to support the Services and optimize individual and overall health status and fitness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and answers about the 2018 Health-Related Behavior Survey.


What is the purpose of the 2018 DOD Health-Related Behaviors Survey (HRBS)?


This survey assesses the health related behaviors and lifestyles of military personnel that have the potential to impact readiness. Results will be used to monitor service members’ needs, develop policies,and improve health programs and services for military members and their families.


Will my answers be kept private?


Yes. As noted earlier, this survey is confidential. This means that RAND and Westat will not give DOD information about who participated in the study, or provide your responses to them in a way that can identify you. DOD has agreed to this condition to protect your privacy.


Can I complete the survey during duty hours/ on a government computer?


Yes. The Service Chief endorsement letters posted on the survey website ( indicate that you can use a computer at work to do the survey. You may also use a smartphone or tablet to complete the survey.


What do I do if I experience any discomfort or distress from filling out the survey?


Some questions on the survey are sensitive in nature and it is possible that you may feel discomfort in answering one or more of these items. If you are having any suicidal thoughts, please seek help immediately. We encourage you to contact your unit’s chaplain or a mental health professional. Other resources can be found below:

Military OneSource is a free 24-hour service that is available 7 days a week to provide a full range of services, across the deployment cycle, to military personnel and their families, at no cost. They can be reached at: 

  • Stateside: CONUS: 1-800-342-9647 
  • Overseas: OCONUS Universal Free Phone: 800-342-9647 or 703-253-7500 
  • Collect from Overseas: OCONUS Collect: 703-253-7599 
  • En Español llame al: 800-342-9647
  • TTY / TDD: Dial 711 and give the toll-free number 800-342-9647

DoD Safe Helpline provides worldwide live, confidential support, 24/7. You can initiate a report and search for your nearest Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC). You can find links to Service-specific reporting resources and access information about the prevention of and response to sexual assault on their website or by calling the hotline at 1-877-995-5247.

Military Crisis Line can also provide confidential support and consultation if you feel distressed. They can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 (then press 1). Or send a text to 838255.


Do I have to take the survey?


The survey is entirely voluntary. If you choose to take the survey, you may stop at any time.


Did I already answer these questions in earlier DOD surveys?


Some Service members may have completed surveys like this one in the past. This survey is conducted approximately every three years to get a comprehensive update about the health behaviors of military members. Since DOD wants to understand trends in members’ experiences in the Services, it is important that you participate in the 2018 Survey to tell us about your current health.


Who do I contact if I have questions or concerns about the survey?

  • Call the Westat Survey Helpdesk for computer, technical, or survey questions: by phone toll-free at 84-HRBS-2018 (or 844-727-2018) or by email at
  • Contact RAND for questions about the overall study: Email:
  • Questions about your rights as a participant in this study: Contact RAND's Human Subjects Protection Committee toll-free at (866) 697-5620 or by emailing If possible, when you contact the Committee, please reference Study #2017-0459.

What do I need to do to fill out the web survey?


You should go to the following website link: If you have problems accessing the website, contact the Westat survey help desk listed above.


Do I have to complete the web survey in one sitting?


You may use the weblink above and your unique identification code to re-start the survey wherever you stop at a time that is more convenient for you.


Will I ever see the results of the survey?


Yes. When the survey results are available, an executive summary will be available.


How long is the survey?


This survey takes about 20-25 minutes.


Who is doing this study?


The Department of Defense (DOD) asked the RAND Corporation and its data collection contractor, Westat, to conduct an independent, objective assessment of Service members’ health status and health-related behaviors.


Who is the RAND Corporation?


RAND is a private, nonprofit organization that conducts research and analysis to help improve public policy and decision-making.  For more information about RAND, see:


Who is Westat?


Westat is an internationally known research and statistical survey organization. Westat manages the technical aspects of the web survey operations and can help you with any computer or technical problems. For more information about Westat see:


Why did you pick me?


You were randomly selected from all Active and Reserve Component and Coast Guard personnel to represent your Service branch in this important research.


How did you get my name?


We obtained your name and basic demographic information (e.g., service branch, pay grade, age, education level) from the Defense Manpower Data Center [DMDC], which maintains DOD personnel records. Because we are doing an official, approved DOD survey, DMDC was authorized to give us military members’ names and contact information for research purposes only. We are just using your name to send you information about the survey via email and mail. Only study staff will be able to link your survey responses to your contact information via a unique survey ID code. The survey is confidential.


How will the survey findings be used?


RAND will report survey findings in a way that does not identify individuals to the Services, DOD, or the public. The information you provide will be combined with that from other military personnel to prepare statistical reports. At no time will your individual data be reported.


Why should I participate?


This is your chance to be heard on issues that directly affect the health, well-being, and readiness of military members and their families. The survey results will help inform DOD of potential health problems in the military and help suggest ways to solve or prevent them.

Last Updated: October 19, 2018
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