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Br J Psychiatry. 2007 Dec;191:506-11.

Influence of childhood adversity on health among male UK military personnel.

Author information

1
Department of Psychological Medicine, Weston Education Centre, Cutcombe Road, London SE5 9RJ, UK. A.Iversen@iop.kcl.ac.uk.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Exposure to childhood adversity may explain why only a minority of combatants exposed to trauma develop psychological problems.

AIMS:

To examine the association between self-reported childhood vulnerability and later health outcomes in a large randomly selected male military cohort.

METHOD:

Data are derived from the first stage of a cohort study comparing Iraq veterans and non-deployed UK military personnel. We describe data collected by questionnaire from males in the regular UK armed forces (n=7937).

RESULTS:

Pre-enlistment vulnerability is associated with being single, of lower rank, having low educational attainment and serving in the Army. Pre-enlistment vulnerability is associated with a variety of negative health outcomes. Two main factors emerge as important predictors of ill health: a 'family relationships' factor reflecting the home environment and an 'externalising behaviour' factor reflecting behavioural disturbance.

CONCLUSIONS:

Pre-enlistment vulnerability is an important individual risk factor for ill health in military men. Awareness of such factors is important in understanding post-combat psychiatric disorder.

PMID:
18055954
DOI:
10.1192/bjp.bp.107.039818
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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