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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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