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There has been no comprehensive investigation of psychological health in Australia's Korean War veteran population, and few researchers are investigating the health of coalition Korean War veterans into old age.
To investigate the association between war service, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression in Australia's 7525 surviving male Korean War veterans and a community comparison group.
A survey was conducted using a self-report postal questionnaire which included the PTSD Checklist, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale and the Combat Exposure Scale.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (OR 6.63, P <0.001), anxiety (OR 5.74, P <0.001) and depression (OR 5.45, P <0.001) were more prevalent in veterans than in the comparison group. These disorders were strongly associated with heavy combat and low rank.
Effective intervention is necessary to reduce the considerable psychological morbidity experienced by Korean War veterans. Attention to risk factors and early intervention will be necessary to prevent similar long-term psychological morbidity in veterans of more recent conflicts.
Questions remain about the long-term health impacts of the 1991 Gulf War on its veterans.
To measure psychological disorders in Australian Gulf War veterans and a military comparison group and to explore any association with exposure to Gulf War-related psychological stressors.
Prevalences of DSM–IV psychological disorders were measured using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Gulf War-related psychological stressors were measured using a service experience questionnaire.
A total of 31% of male Gulf War veterans and 21% of the comparison group met criteria for a DSM–IVdisorder first present in the post-Gulf War period. The veterans were at greater risk of developing post-Gulf War anxiety disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, affective disorders and substance use disorders. The prevalence of such disorders remained elevated a decade after deployment. The findings can be explained partly as a ‘war-deployment effect‘. There was a strong dose–response relationship between psychological disorders and number of reported Gulf War-related psychological stressors.
Service in the 1991 Gulf War is associated with increased risk of psychological disorders and these are related to stressful experiences.
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