Posttraumatic stress disorder and self-reported physical health status among U.S. Military personnel serving during the Gulf War period: A population-based study

Drue H. Barrett, Caroline Carney Doebbeling, David A. Schwartz, Margaret D. Voelker, Kenneth H. Falter, Robert F. Woolson, Bradley N. Doebbeling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

139 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to investigate the relation between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and perceived physical health. Participants included 3, 682 Gulf War veterans and control subjects of the same era who completed a telephone survey about their health status. PTSD was assessed using the PTSD Checklist-Military Version. Veterans screening positive for PTSD reported significantly more physical health symptoms and medical conditions than did veterans without PTSD. They were also more likely to rate their health status as fair or poor and to report lower levels of health-related quality of life. The results of this study are consistent with studies of other combat veterans and provide further support for an association between PTSD and adverse physical health outcomes. Stressful or traumatic life events, such as those encountered during a rapid military deployment and conflict, are associated with a variety of adverse health effects. These health effects may manifest themselves in both psychological and physical outcomes. Health care providers must be attentive to recognize and evaluate both of these dimensions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-205
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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