Anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression in Korean War veterans 50 years after the war

Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Australia.
The British Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 7.99). 07/2007; 190(6):475-83. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.106.025684
Source: PubMed


There has been no comprehensive investigation of psychological health in Australia's Korean War veteran population, and few researchers are investigating the health of coalition Korean War veterans into old age.
To investigate the association between war service, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression in Australia's 7525 surviving male Korean War veterans and a community comparison group.
A survey was conducted using a self-report postal questionnaire which included the PTSD Checklist, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale and the Combat Exposure Scale.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (OR 6.63, P<0.001), anxiety (OR 5.74, P<0.001) and depression (OR 5.45, P<0.001) were more prevalent in veterans than in the comparison group. These disorders were strongly associated with heavy combat and low rank.
Effective intervention is necessary to reduce the considerable psychological morbidity experienced by Korean War veterans. Attention to risk factors and early intervention will be necessary to prevent similar long-term psychological morbidity in veterans of more recent conflicts.

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    • "In addition, results in this study were consistent with Ikin et al. (2007), who found that lower rank was strongly associated with PTSD. One reason could be that lower rank results in different kinds of combat experiences (e.g., different roles in different missions) that lead to greater risk for PTSD; Ikin et al. (2005) found that veterans of lower ranks reported more dangerous duties and greater fears of attack, injury, or death. "
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    • "Covariates that have been found by others to be associated with the three psychiatric outcomes (Fanning & Pietrzak, 2013; Ikin et al., 2007; Kaplan et al., 2006) were incorporated into multivariate models. These included: demographic variables of age, sex, race/ ethnicity, annual household income, years of education, and marital status; health variable of number of physical-health conditions ; trauma-related variable of lifetime trauma exposures, as measured by number of traumatic events; and combat experience; psychosocial variable of resilience, as measured by the Connor- Davidson Resilience Scale (Campbell-Sills and Stein, 2007); and personality variables of extraversion and emotional stability, as measured by the Ten Item Personality Inventory (Gosling et al., 2003). "
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    • "The presence of depression together with a PTSD diagnosis increases psychological distress, substance abuse, relationship problems, and search for psychological help in war veterans (Dunn et al., 1993; Dunn et al., 2004; Roszell, McFall, & Malas, 1991). Ikin and collaborators (2007) found 32% of Australia's and Korean War veterans to met criteria for PTSD and 23% met criteria for depression. More recently, 50 years after Korean War, 17% of veterans met criteria for comorbid PTSD and depression, 15% presented PTSD without depression, and 6% had depression without PTSD (Ikin, Creamer, Sim, & McKenzie, 2010). "
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