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Volume 45 Number 3, 2008
   Pages 395 — 408

Abstract - Risk factors for mental, physical, and functional health in Gulf War veterans

Lynda A. King, PhD;1-3* Daniel W. King, PhD;1-3 Elisa E. Bolton, PhD;4 Jeffrey A. Knight, PhD;1-2 Dawne S. Vogt, PhD1-2

1National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; 2Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA; 3Department of Psychology, Boston University, Boston, MA; 4Department of Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA

Abstract — Risk factors associated with war-zone events and circumstances are implicated in the health and adjustment of military veterans. We assessed a national stratified sample of community-residing veterans of the Gulf War (N = 357) using scales from the Deployment Risk and Resilience Inventory, along with an array of mental (posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety), physical (symptom and condition indicators especially pertinent to Gulf War illnesses), and functional (both mental and physical dimensions) health outcomes. We found that perceived threat or fear of bodily harm in the war zone and self-reported or perceived exposures to environmental hazards may play a critical role in all measured aspects of health. Moreover, a synergistic effect of these two risk factors was observed in the prediction of mental health and mental health functional status.

Key words: anxiety, Deployment Risk and Resilience Inventory, depression, environmental agents, functional health status, Gulf War illnesses, perceived threat, posttraumatic stress disorder, rehabilitation, risk factors, veteran health.

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