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Br J Psychiatry. 2004 Aug;185:116-26.

War-related psychological stressors and risk of psychological disorders in Australian veterans of the 1991 Gulf War.

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  • 1Monash University, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Central and Eastern Clinical School, Alfred Hospital, Commercial Road, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia.



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-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.


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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