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Mental health of US Gulf War veterans 10 years after the war

  • Rosemary Toomey (a1), Han K. Kang (a2), Joel Karlinsky (a3), Dewleen G. Baker (a4), Jennifer J. Vasterling (a5), Renee Alpern (a6), Domenic J. Reda (a6), William G. Henderson (a7), Frances M. Murphy (a8) and Seth A. Eisen (a9)...
Abstract
Background

Gulf War veterans reported multiple psychological symptoms immediately after the war; the temporal course of these symptoms remains unclear.

Aims

To assess the prevalence of war-era onset mental disorders in US veterans deployed to the Gulf War and in non-deployed veterans 10 years after the war.

Method

Mental disorders were diagnosed using structured clinical interviews. Standard questionnaires assessed symptoms and quality of life.

Results

Gulf War-era onset mental disorders were more prevalent in deployed veterans (18.1%, n=1061) compared with non-deployed veterans (8.9%, n=1128). The prevalence of depression and anxiety declined 10 years later in both groups, but remained higher in the deployed group, who also reported more symptoms and a lower quality of life than the non-deployed group. Remission of depression may be related to the presence of comorbid psychiatric disorders and level of education. Remission of anxiety was related to treatment with medication.

Conclusions

Gulf War deployment was associated with an increased prevalence of mental disorders, psychological symptoms and a lower quality of life beginning during the war and persisting at a lower rate 10 years later.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr Rosemary Toomey, Psychology Department, Boston University, 648 Beacon Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02215, USA. Tel: +1 617 358 3048; fax: +1 617 358 1380; email: rosemary_toomey@hms.harvard.edu
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None. Funding detailed in Acknowledgements.

Footnotes
References
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Mental health of US Gulf War veterans 10 years after the war

  • Rosemary Toomey (a1), Han K. Kang (a2), Joel Karlinsky (a3), Dewleen G. Baker (a4), Jennifer J. Vasterling (a5), Renee Alpern (a6), Domenic J. Reda (a6), William G. Henderson (a7), Frances M. Murphy (a8) and Seth A. Eisen (a9)...
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