Send to

Choose Destination
Econ Hum Biol. 2015 Jan;16:81-99. doi: 10.1016/j.ehb.2014.01.001. Epub 2014 Jan 19.

Combat exposure and migraine headache: evidence from exogenous deployment assignment.

Author information

University of Connecticut, Finance Department, School of Business, 2100 Hillside Road, Unit 1041, Storrs, CT 06269-1041, United States. Electronic address:
San Diego State University & U.S. Military Academy, Department of Economics, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-4485, United States. Electronic address:
Georgia State University, IZA and NBER, Department of Economics, Andrew Young School of Public Policy, United States. Electronic address:


Migraine headache is a growing problem for U.S. servicemembers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and has been linked to substantial negative socioeconomic consequences. However, there has been no comprehensive examination of the relationship between combat exposure and migraine headache or its stress-related triggers. Analyzing data drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we use exogenous variation in deployment assignment to estimate the effect of combat exposure on migraine headache. We find that those deployed to a combat zone with enemy firefight are at substantially increased risk for migraine headache relative to those deployed to non-combat zones outside the United States or to combat zones without enemy firefight. We find that combat-induced sleep disorders, stress-related psychological problems, and physical injuries in combat explain approximately 40-45 percent of the relationship between combat exposure and migraine headache.


Combat exposure; Migraine headache; Sleep disruption

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center