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Mil Med. 2009 Nov;174(11):1149-54.

Veterans' distress related to participation in a study about detainee abuse.

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Mental Health Clinic, Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University and Woodland Avenues, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Unintended consequences of participating in research studies are not well characterized, particularly in veterans who are frequent study participants. Our objective, then, was to assess the rate of and variables associated with distress resulting from veterans' participation in a study on a sensitive subject. Veterans Administration (VA) hospital outpatients were administered questionnaires with three increasingly severe scenarios of a U.S. soldier abusing a detainee. Distress--upset requiring clinical intervention--was assessed, as were sociodemographic characteristics, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and locus of control (LOC). Three hundred fifty-one veterans participated. Forty-three (12%) became distressed. Modeling indicated distress was associated with minority status (odds ratio [OR] = 5.72, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.59, 20.58), PTSD (OR = 2.66, 95% CI = 1.12, 6.29), and external LOC (OR = 6.27, 95% CI = 2.82, 13.90). Distress related to study participation was high in this veteran sample. Higher rates in some subgroups suggested that some individuals may not be able to accurately anticipate risk for harm in sensitive studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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