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Br J Psychiatry. 2007 Jun;190:484-9.

Explanations for the increase in mental health problems in UK reserve forces who have served in Iraq.

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  • 1King's Centre for Military Health Research, King's College, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Deployment to the 2003 Iraq War was associated with ill health in reserve armed forces personnel.

AIMS:

To investigate reasons for the excess of ill health in reservists.

METHOD:

UK personnel who were deployed to the 2003 Iraq War completed a health survey about experiences on deployment to Iraq. Health status was measured using self-report of common mental disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), fatigue, physical symptoms and well-being.

RESULTS:

Reservists were older and of higher rank than the regular forces. They reported higher exposure to traumatic experiences, lower unit cohesion, more problems adjusting to homecoming and lower marital satisfaction. Most health outcomes could be explained by role, experience of traumatic events or unit cohesion in theatre. PTSD symptoms were the one exception and were paradoxically most powerfully affected by differences in problems at home rather than events in Iraq.

CONCLUSIONS:

The increased ill-health of reservists appears to be due to experiences on deployment and difficulties with homecoming.

PMID:
17541107
DOI:
10.1192/bjp.bp.106.030544
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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