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Aviat Space Environ Med. 1982 Mar;53(3):251-7.

Serial personality evaluations of repatriated U.S. Air Force Southeast Asia POWs.


The vulnerability of repatriated POWs to psychiatric difficulty has been a topic of ongoing study in modern times. This paper presents the results of 294 initial and 160 second Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) evaluations obtained during a 5-year voluntary follow-up program for all 332 repatriated U.S. Air Force Southeast Asia Prisoners of War (USAF SEA POWs). Because no USAF Repatriated Prisoner of War (RPW) was shot down from Mar 69 to Jan 71, the RPWs are designated Pre-60 and Post-69. The Pre-69 group had a significantly longer and harsher captivity experience. The RPW groups were compared statistically and psychographically with each other, with the standard Minnesota norms, and with a group of healthy, non-RPW USAF aircrewmen. The group MMPI profiles of Pre-69 and Post-69 RPWs were within normal clinical limits. However, ordering in the data, statistical differences, and serial comparisons indicated: (1) Pre-69ers deviated farther from normal than Post-69ers on first MMPI; (2) Pre-69ers showed increased repression adn denial and greater suspicion and distrust on first MMPI; (3) the Post-69er second MMPI profile moved toward the usual aircrew standard; and (4) the profile of Pre-69ers remained essentially unchanged in serial evaluations. The Pre-69 RPWs may thus be at increased risk for psychological distress.

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