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The long-term mental health impact of peacekeeping: prevalence and predictors of psychiatric disorder

  • David Forbes (a1), Meaghan O'Donnell (a2), Rachel M. Brand (a1), Sam Korn (a3), Mark Creamer (a4), Alexander C. McFarlane (a2), Malcolm R. Sim (a2), Andrew B. Forbes (a2) and Graeme Hawthorne (a2)...
Abstract
Background

The mental health outcomes of military personnel deployed on peacekeeping missions have been relatively neglected in the military mental health literature.

Aims

To assess the mental health impacts of peacekeeping deployments.

Method

In total, 1025 Australian peacekeepers were assessed for current and lifetime psychiatric diagnoses, service history and exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTEs). A matched Australian community sample was used as a comparator. Univariate and regression analyses were conducted to explore predictors of psychiatric diagnosis.

Results

Peacekeepers had significantly higher 12-month prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (16.8%), major depressive episode (7%), generalised anxiety disorder (4.7%), alcohol misuse (12%), alcohol dependence (11.3%) and suicidal ideation (10.7%) when compared with the civilian comparator. The presence of these psychiatric disorders was most strongly and consistently associated with exposure to PTEs.

Conclusions

Veteran peacekeepers had significant levels of psychiatric morbidity. Their needs, alongside those of combat veterans, should be recognised within military mental health initiatives.

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Copyright
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Corresponding author
David Forbes, Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne Level 3, Alan Gilbert Building, 161 Barry Street, Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia. Email: dforbes@unimelb.edu.au
Footnotes
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Deceased.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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The long-term mental health impact of peacekeeping: prevalence and predictors of psychiatric disorder

  • David Forbes (a1), Meaghan O'Donnell (a2), Rachel M. Brand (a1), Sam Korn (a3), Mark Creamer (a4), Alexander C. McFarlane (a2), Malcolm R. Sim (a2), Andrew B. Forbes (a2) and Graeme Hawthorne (a2)...
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