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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2012 Sep;200(9):749-57. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318266b7e7.

Anxiety and depression in Marines sent to war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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  • 1Behavioral Science andEpidemiology Department, Naval Health Research Center, 140 Sylvester Road, San Diego, CA 92106-3521, USA.


Although the effects of combat deployment on posttraumatic stress disorder have been extensively studied, little is known about the effects of combat deployment on depression and anxiety. This study examined the factors associated with anxiety and depression in a sample of 1560 US Marines who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Eleven demographic and psychosocial factors were studied in relation to depression and anxiety. Five factors emerged as significant in relation to depression: deployment-related stressors, combat exposure, attitudes toward leadership, mild traumatic brain injury symptoms, and marital status. The same factors, with the exception of marital status, emerged as significant in relation to anxiety. Deployment-related stressors had a stronger association with both depression and anxiety than any other variable, including combat exposure. This finding is important because deployment-related stressors are potentially modifiable by the military.

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