The expanding role of women in the military raises questions related to the military experiences of women serving in major conflicts. We assess the military experiences and postwar health care use of women who served during the Gulf War. Data from a population-based survey of military personnel serving between August 1990 and July 1991 assessing military preparedness, combat experience, occupational and other service-related exposures, and health care use were analyzed. Deployed women were more often in the Army, single, without children, college educated, and reported fewer vaccinations. Deployed men and women had similar military experiences; however, men more often participated in combat. Deployed women had more outpatient and inpatient health care use 5 years after deployment and more often received Department of Veterans Affairs compensation than men. If these important differences in exposures and health care use are confirmed in other studies, optimal training and deployment preparedness strategies should be reconsidered.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health