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BACKGROUND: Questions remain about the long-term health impacts of the 1991 Gulf War on its veterans. AIMS: 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. METHOD: 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. RESULTS: A total of 31% of male Gulf War veterans and 21% of the comparison group met criteria for a DSM-IV disorder 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. CONCLUSIONS: Service in the 1991 Gulf War is associated with increased risk of psychological disorders and these are related to stressful experiences.

Original publication

DOI

10.1192/bjp.185.2.116

Type

Journal article

Journal

Br J Psychiatry

Publication Date

08/2004

Volume

185

Pages

116 - 126

Keywords

Adult, Aged, Australia, Combat Disorders, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Military Personnel, Mood Disorders, Odds Ratio, Persian Gulf Syndrome, Prevalence, Risk Factors, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic, Stress, Psychological, Substance-Related Disorders