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Health status of Vietnam veterans. I. Psychosocial characteristics. The Centers for Disease Control Vietnam experience study.

Barrett DH; Boyle CA; Decoufle P; DeStefano F; Devine OJ; Morris RD; Scally MJ; Stroup NE; Wetterhall SF; Worth RM
JAMA J Am Med Assoc 1988 May; 259(18):2701-2707
A study of the psychological health of Vietnam veterans was conducted. The study was part of a multidimensional assessment of the health of Vietnam veterans. The cohort consisted of 7924 veterans who entered the United States Army (SIC-9711) during the period 1965 to 1971 who served in Vietnam and 7364 who did not serve in Vietnam. A structured questionnaire telephone interview was conducted with each subject that sought information on socioeconomic and demographic characteristics and service history. A total of 2490 Vietnam veterans and 1972 nonVietnam veterans completed the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) and Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS). NonVietnam veterans tended to have higher entry general technical test scores. Smaller percentages of Vietnam than nonVietnam veterans were discharged dishonorably or at lower pay grades. More than 90 percent of the Vietnam veterans were employed, although more nonVietnam veterans were in executive, managerial, and professional occupations. Vietnam veterans were more likely to meet DIS criteria for alcohol abuse or dependency, generalized anxiety, and depression than nonVietnam veterans; however, few subjects in either group met DIS criteria for drug abuse or dependency. Approximately half of the Vietnam veterans reported experiencing one or more symptoms related to a traumatic combat event and 15 percent met DIS criteria for combat related posttraumatic stress disorders at some time during or after service. A significantly larger percentage of Vietnam veterans showed MMPI indications of psychosocial problems than nonVietnam veterans. The authors conclude that more Vietnam veterans have psychological and emotional problems than nonVietnam veterans; however, these problems have not resulted in Vietnam veterans as a group having lower social and economic achievement.
NIOSH-Author; Epidemiology; Military-personnel; Health-survey; Risk-analysis; Psychological-factors; Psychological-testing; Alcoholism; Psychological-stress; Drug-abuse
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Journal of the American Medical Association
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
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